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MGMA: Medical Director Duties, Compensation Vary Widely

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, May 4, 2011

Being a medical director can be nice work if you can get it. A physician medical director can add several thousand or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to his or her compensation package for duties that can range from recruitment, attending meetings, conducting clinical peer reviews, and strategic development.

Compensation for medical directors varies widely across specialties as well as practice ownership, a Medical Group Management Association survey shows. Duties and responsibilities can also play a role although the survey didn't collect that information by specialty.

MGMA's Medical Directorship and On-Call Compensation Survey: 2011 Report, based on specialty, shows that the lowest median annualized compensation, $7,500, was reported by internists and pediatricians. The highest, $208,000, was reported by radiation oncologists.

Depending on the specialty, practice ownership (hospital-owned or nonhospital-owned) also affects medical director compensation. Psychiatrists in a hospital-owned practices earned $25,000 while their counterparts in nonhospital-owned practices earned four times as much annually for medical director duties. On the other hand, family practitioners (with obstetrics) earned almost twice as much for being medical directors in hospital-owned practices as in nonhospital-owned practices: $24,000 versus $12,500. 

The majority of survey participants reported median annualized compensation levels of $50,000 or less. Only four specialties reported annualized medical director compensation of more than $50,000: radiation oncologists, nephrologists, pathologists, and urologists.

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