It's Good to Be in Healthcare

John Commins, November 15, 2010

Despite all the ululating about shrinking reimbursements and the impact of federal healthcare reform, and any of a number of financial icebergs out there, let's acknowledge that it's good to be in healthcare.

Numerous surveys show that physicians, highly skilled clinicians, and healthcare executives in the United States are the most highly compensated class of workers on the planet. Physicians held the top six positions for median pay in Money magazine's Best Jobs in America survey. Nurse anesthetists were ranked No. 7, with a median salary of $156,000.

New survey results from Executive Compensation 2010/2011* show that hospital CEOs earn an average $353,900 per year, (CEOs at not-for-profits average $225,400). CEOs at homecare facilities average $282,300 a year, CEOs at physician clinics average $254,000. CEOs at behavioral health facilities average $241,300, and CEOs at long-term care facilities average $235,700.)

There are regional variations in salary but everybody seems to be doing all right. Hospital administrators in the Northeast average the highest base salary, $247,900 per year, followed by those in the West, $226,100. The Southeast is $213,300, South Central is $192,000 per year, and the Midwest is $152,600.

As a broad and vaguely defined category, "healthcare industry presidents" earn the highest average base salary, $296,400, of any industry in the overall economy, followed by the insurance industry, with an average base salary of $290,700, the Executive Compensation survey finds.

EC's survey found that "while pay increase budgets for the healthcare industry have steadily decreased since the onset of the recession in 2007, salaries for many executive positions have continued to rise."

CIOs, for example, have seen their pay increase by 10.5% over the last three years, an average of $193,000 in the healthcare sector, and $200,100 at hospitals. CEOs, on the other hand, have seen their pay reduced by nearly 20% since 2007, while the average base salary for COOs has dropped 9% to $225,500 in healthcare and $245,100 at hospitals.


John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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