Survey: CMIO Salary Increases Have Outpaced Other C-Suite Physician Leaders

Nov. 4, 2016
The greatest increase in C-suite compensation since 2013 was 18 percent for physicians in the Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) roles, according to a survey by Cejka Executive Search in partnership with the American Association for Physician Leadership.

The greatest increase in C-suite compensation since 2013 was 18 percent for physicians in the Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) roles, according to a survey by Cejka Executive Search in partnership with the American Association for Physician Leadership.

The double-digit increase for CMIOs/CIOs is likely due to the roles' shift in focus—from electronic medical records implementation to ensuring the usability of data to support preventative care at the individual provider level and risk-based accountable care at the enterprise-level, according to the survey report authors.

"Clearly, there is perceived value in having a physician leader drive these initiatives and facilities are willing to compensate accordingly," Paul Esselman, Cejka Executive Search’s senior EVP and managing director, said in a statement.

The findings were part of Cejka Executive Search and the American Association for Physician Leadership’s 10th biennial Physician Leadership Compensation Survey. The survey contains self-reported compensation data collected from 2,353 physician leaders in July 2016 based on 2015 total compensation. This includes salary, bonuses, incentive payments, research stipends, honoraria and distribution of profits. The data also includes the total compensation received for both administrative duties and the clinical practice of medicine.

According to the survey, total median compensation for physicians in leadership in 2016 is $350,000, a three-year gain of 8 percent since the last survey in 2013. While fairly consistent with growth over the past seven years, this lags pre-recession two-year growth rates of 12 percent reported in 2007.

“Given health care reform and the continued attention on costs, including executive compensation, we don't expect physician leader compensation to return to pre-recession growth rates anytime soon," Esselman said in a statement. “However, there are emerging roles in response to the shift toward value-based care that provide physician leaders with significantly greater opportunities for earnings, as well as strategic input and organizational influence."    

Drilling down into the survey, the results indicate that the highest-paid physician executives on average earned $499,000 and served in emerging roles that include: Physician in Chief, Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Transformational Officer, Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Integration Officer.

"Physicians in these transformative roles are often tasked with 'connecting the dots' across the organization and care continuum to achieve the greater efficiency and effectiveness of care required by newer reimbursement models, including population health management and accountable care," Joyce Tucker, Cejka Executive Search EVP and managing principal, said in a statement.

A Breakdown of Trending Compensation for C-Suite Physician Leaders:
(Median compensation 2016 vs. 2013)

Emerging Roles, C-Suite: $499,000 vs. $469,000, up 6%
Chief Executive Officer/President: $437,500 vs. $410,000, up 7%
Chief Medical Officer: $388,000 vs. $365,000, up 6%
Chief Quality/Patient Safety Officer: $375,000 vs. $375,000
Chief Information Officer/Chief Medical Information Officer: $372,500 vs. $315,000, up 18%

The survey results indicated that there are pathways to higher compensation for physician leaders. Those who operate at a system-wide level, hold post-graduate degrees or certifications or whose compensation is most aligned with organizational goals, also earned more. According to the survey report authors, physician leaders working at the corporate or parent-level of a health system saw an average 67 percent spike in median compensation since 2013.  As compared to physician leaders with no post-graduate degrees, a master's in business administration (MBA) earned respondents on average 13 percent more and a certified physician executive (CPE) on average earned 4 percent more. In addition, leaders who allocated more time to administration and whose performance-based pay was a higher percentage of total compensation earned more as well.

Additionally, the survey found that outside of the C-suite, the highest three-year pay gain was 26 percent for physician leaders focused on clinical initiatives serving as president of the medical staff or medical director, assistant or associate. The number of respondents in these positions also rose as a percent of total physician leaders, from 5 percent in 2013 to 8 percent in 2016. This could indicate an emphasis on building the next organizational level of quality leaders in response to quality outcome measures now increasingly tied to reimbursements.

Physician leaders also are serving in more strategic and complex roles than in the past. Among the survey respondents, 61 percent reported that they have more strategic input than the previous year, and more than half (54 percent) have multiple or shared administrative reporting relationships. Of those, 49 percent (versus 24 percent in 2013) are administratively accountable to more than one person, and 29 percent (versus 19 percent in 2013) have shared direct reports.

 

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