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Salaries of hospital executives nearly doubled, while physicians see more modest increases

Between 2005 and 2015, average CEO compensation jumped from $1.6 million to $3.1 million, an increase of 93 percent.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Physicians have a reputation for commanding strong salaries, but when it comes to pay increases, they pale next to those of their counterparts at the executive level.

A piece published in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research shows healthcare executives such as CEOs and CFOs saw pay increases of more than 90 percent over 10 years, while other health professionals generally saw increases of 10 to 20 percent.


Physician salaries are, of course, linked to shortages in filling those positions. Hospitals and physician groups that can attract and retain physicians means having the financial ability to offer competitive salaries and bonuses.

Between 2005 and 2015, average CEO compensation jumped from $1.6 million to $3.1 million, an increase of 93 percent. Researchers looked at this data and calculated, as ratios, the gaps between those salaries and the salaries of various medical professionals.

The gap between executives and orthopedic surgeons went from 3:1 to 5:1 during that time. For pediatricians, it went from 7:1 to 12:1. Registered nurses saw the gap become a chasm, as the ratio leapt from 23:1 to 44:1.

Healthcare workers' wages increased 8 percent during the 10-year period, while nonclinical workers saw increases of 7 percent and physician salaries jumped up 10 percent.

A 20 percent increase was reported overall, with management accounting for 3 percent of the growth, non-clinical workers accounting for 27 percent, and physicians accounting for just 5 percent.


According to the American Medical Group Association, increasing executive salaries may be linked in part to the transition to value-based care.

Value-based care has also brought about a renewed focus on operations, with resources slowly shifting from payer strategy and care model design to the implementation and orchestration of those investments.

In 2017, Merritt Hawkins released a list of the top 10 most in-demand physicians. 

Twitter: @JELagasse
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