BFMV recently released the 2023 Physician Leaders Compensation Report. Our primary interest in undertaking this study was tracking physician executive titles and pay trends. Here are five key takeaways from the report.
1. The most common physician executive titles are Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director.
Interesting to note the high representation of CMOs. According to the American Association for Physician Leadership, the role of CMOs is changing and increasingly becoming a full-time administrative position.
“Historically, the CMO role was neither well-defined nor critical. The CMO role was frequently filled by a senior physician, often as a part-time position, who functioned primarily to influence staff physicians to perform at higher standards and to accept administrative policies… Over the past 20 years, the CMO role has evolved far beyond peer review and privileging, to include utilization review, program growth and development, practice acquisition, integrating health systems, and aligning and coordinating ambulatory and inpatient care, technology acquisition and implementation, process improvement, and regulatory compliance, among others.”
2. Primary care providers fill a large percentage of physician leadership roles.
Of the 3,462 physician leaders, 62% were identified as primary care physicians. This is notable, mainly because primary care physicians make up only around 30% of the US physician workforce.
3. Leadership pay tracks clinical specialty.
The data indicate that physician leaders with specialized clinical backgrounds are paid more than those with primary care backgrounds. Of the 28 types of physicians (based on specialty) to serve as a CMO, cardiology, pulmonary and critical care, and thoracic surgery had the highest median compensation.
4. Physician executives in hospitals trend higher.
Median physician leader compensation across all types of organizations was approximately $284,000. In hospitals, it was approximately $428,000.
5. The size of an organization has an impact on physician leader pay.
The positive correlation between organizational size and physician leader compensation was supported in the data. The chart below shows median physician leader compensation of just above $500,000 in organizations with $400 million and just above $200,000 in organizations with revenues of less than $10 million.