Physician Executive Education and Compensation Levels Continue To Increase

November 16, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
Post-graduate business education and bonus compensation among physician executives continue to increase, according to the 2007 Physician Executive Compensation Survey conducted by the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) and Cejka Search, a nationally recognized physician and healthcare executive search organization. In the sixth biennial survey of its kind, the survey identifies the trends and factors that drive change in physician executive compensation.

“It’s important to track and lend insight into compensation trends, as the healthcare industry calls upon physicians executives to integrate their business and clinical skills to advance organizational strategy and performance,” said Roger Schenke, ACPE’s executive vice president. “Physician executives and organizations that employ them are looking for benchmarks and guidance.”

• Overall physician executive compensation increased 7.5 percent to $258,000 from $240,000
between 2005 and 2007

• Overall physician executive compensation grew 36.6 percent since the first survey was published
in 1997

“Demand for physician leadership is at an all-time high, as technological advances, industry focus on quality, and economic pressures create an increasingly complex healthcare landscape,” said Carol Westfall, president of Cejka Search. “Their skills and influence can be applied across organizational lines to increase the effectiveness in a wide range of areas, including electronic medical record implementation, quality initiatives, service line development, medical staffing, patient safety and access concerns, to name a few.”

Chief Medical Officers made the second-highest 10-year gain in compensation of 46 percent – exceeded only by Division/Department Chairs and Managers with a 49 percent increase in compensation. In addition, Chief Medical Officers comprised 18 percent of the respondents in the 2007 survey – a three-fold increase from six percent of the respondent pool in 1997

Bonuses are Growing as Compensation Component
Bonuses continue to represent a growing component of administrative compensation. Ten years ago, 42 percent of respondents said that a bonus constituted a portion of their administrative compensation. In the 2005 survey, that percentage rose to 48 percent. And in the 2007 survey, slightly more than half (52 percent) of the respondents reported that a bonus was part of their 2006 compensation program. Of these, nine out of 10 said that the bonus component was up to 30 percent of their total compensation.

Importance of Post-Graduate Business Management Degrees
The largest proportion of post-graduate business management degree holders are Chief Executive Officers/Presidents (44 percent) and Chief Medical Officers (45 percent). Among Chief Executive Officers/Presidents, 27 percent hold a Master in Business Administration. Among Chief Medical Officers, 19 percent hold a Master in Business Administration and 13 percent hold a Master in Medical Management.

Rural Areas Show Attractive Compensation Trends
Physician executives in urban and suburban settings are compensated at the same level, with rural median compensation at approximately 5 percent less according to the 2007 survey. But, the survey showed meaningful differences in the compensation gains for rural physician executives. Their compensation increased over two years at twice the rate (12.5 percent) of those in urban areas (6.1 percent). Over the past 10 years the rate of growth in compensation has been essentially the same for all physician executives.
“This is an encouraging trend as it relates to healthcare delivery in rural settings,” Westfall said. “There is an opportunity for physician executives to make an impact and build a professionally satisfying and rewarding career, in rural healthcare organizations.”

Women Increasingly Fill the Medical Director Role
The proportion of survey respondents who are women was 13 percent in 2007 compared with 10 percent in 1997. Forty percent of the women responding to the 2007 survey were Medical Directors, which is the title held by the greatest number of women overall. The title of Medical Director also represents the category of physician executive for which there is the largest percentage of women in proportion to men. In 2007, nearly one of five (19 percent) Medical Directors were women, compared with 16 percent in 2005, and 12 percent in 1997. In 2007, women constituted 17 percent of Associate Medical Directors and 19 percent of Program Directors.

“The position of Medical Director appears to be the gateway for female physicians who are pursuing an executive career path, and the pipeline is consistently filling,” said Westfall.

Other Key Findings
Additional findings from the 2007 Physician Executive Compensation Survey include:

• Among the organization types with greater than 100 respondents, physician executives working in a health system corporate office reported the highest median compensation for all physician executives ($325,000). Physician executives working for government organizations reported the lowest compensation earned in 2007 ($180,000).

• The majority of the survey respondents have between 10 and 15 years experience in an administrative position. But, new physician executives (one - two years experience) and those with the most experience (16 years or more) both showed the greatest increase in median compensation (12 percent) as compared to the 2005 survey.

• Among the eight specialties with at least 70 respondents, Anesthesiologists were the most highly compensated ($350,000 median) and derived the greatest proportion of their compensation from clinical duties. By contrast, Family Medicine physician executives derived the highest percentage of their income from administrative duties, and they had the lowest total compensation ($226,000 median).

The Cejka Search and ACPE 2007 Physician Executive Compensation Survey was emailed and mailed in April 2007 to 7,796 ACPE members. A total of 2,116 questionnaires were used in the survey tabulation, representing a twenty-seven percent (27 percent) response.

To purchase a copy of the Cejka Search and ACPE 2007 Physician Executive Compensation Survey, please visit The survey costs $150 for ACPE members and $350 for non-members. Individual sections (electronic edition only), with the Executive Summary included, may also be purchased for $75 for ACPE members and $150 for non-members.

About the American College of Physician Executive
The American College of Physician Executives (ACPE), located in Tampa, Florida, is the leading national professional association representing physicians in management and boasts a membership of over 9,000 including some of the nation’s top healthcare leaders.

About Cejka Search
Cejka Search is a nationally recognized executive and physician search organization providing services exclusively to the healthcare industry for more than 25 years. Partnering with organizations in pursuit of the nation's best healthcare talent, Cejka Search completes assignments across all levels of the healthcare continuum. Cejka Search is a Cross Country Healthcare, Inc. (Nasdaq: CCRN) company, a leading provider of healthcare staffing services in the United States.

Media Contact: Michelle Kuehler (Black Twig Communications), 314-255-2340, ext. 109;
Survey Contact: Allan Cacanindin (Cejka Search), 314-726-1603.