Healthcare executive compensation increases, as does nursing staff
The average compensation for leadership executives at healthcare systems increased 3 percent in 2011 and hospitals increased nursing employment by 1.8 according to new survey results released by Integrated Health Strategies.
For CEOs and other C-suite executives who are eligible for both short- and long-term incentives the rewards can be significant. For eligible CEOs the incentive opportunities were as high as 80 to 100 percent of their salary or expected value. C-suite executives could cash in short-term incentive awards of between 25 and 35 percent at health systems and from 18 to 27 percent of salary at independent and subsidiary hospitals.
Additionally, Integrated Health Strategies' survey results provided more detailed information on the benefit packages of healthcare executives in order to provide a better picture of total executive compensation. Among the findings:
- Approximately 70 percent of employers supplement their qualified plans with additional employer-funded, non-qualified retirement benefits for their senior executives. Supplemental plans providing an annual contribution were slightly more prevalent than those targeting a specified benefit at retirement.
- Median medical plan premiums for family coverage increased an average of 8 percent per year over the last three years.
- A majority of organizations continue 100 percent of salary for executives during a short-term disability period through one or more disability programs.
- The median salary replacement during a long-term disability is 60 percent and is provided by group and supplemental disability plans at the executive level.
- The trend is moving away from perquisites, except for items that can be treated as business expenses. The most prevalent perquisite remains an automobile or automobile allowance with 86 percent of CEOs receiving either one or the other.
In the nursing profession, ranks of employed nurses rose 1.8 percent from last year and nurses on the West Coast earned the highest average hourly compensation, according to the survey
The survey, which collected data from 364 healthcare systems and hospitals across the country, showed that the average hourly rate for hiring an RN with five years of experience was $27.18. But RNs in the West Coast and Northeast had significantly higher hiring hourly rates than nurses in other parts of the country. On the West Coast, an RN with five years of experience could expect an average hiring rate of $36.79, while a nurse with similar experience in the Northeast could expect a starting hourly wage of $32.30 per hour. RNs with five years of experience in the Midwest and Mid-South earned the lowest starting hourly rates at $23.84 and $25.24 respectively.
The survey also showed an increase in the use of agency RNs to help hospitals meet their staffing needs while also maintaining budgetary flexibility. Of the hospitals and health systems surveyed 54 percent indicated they used agency nurses, with the average hospital racking up more than 58,000 hours of agency RN staffing.
The lion's share of hospitals also reported providing salary increases in the past year, with 80 percent providing market-based increases and more than 87 percent providing merit increases.