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120 Statistics on Medical Director Compensation

The role of medical director has drastically changed for hospitals over the past several years. Traditionally, some physicians volunteered to fulfill medical directorship duties, but now that the positions require more time and effort, physicians expect to be appropriately compensated.

Chad Stutelberg, executive vice president and practice leader at Integrated Healthcare Strategies, says the medical director position serves many important roles within hospitals: They provide services ranging from the more traditional roles of medical directors (liaisons between the medical staff and hospital management, credentialing and peer review, etc.) to the more evolving roles as heads of departments and physician leaders in service line management.

Integrated Healthcare Strategies recently released its 2011 Medical Director Survey, one of the most comprehensive surveys on medical director trends and compensation. The healthcare industry's transition toward accountable care organizations, patient-centered medical homes and more physician leadership structures became one of the most obvious developments within the survey's results. "The biggest change we see in the survey is the interest in it," Mr. Stutelberg says. "It's an indirect way of saying that the growth of physicians working in these positions is clearly something that is happening all over the country."

Because medical directorships have blossomed within the hospital sector, compensation practices have also changed. Mr. Stutelberg says historically, many medical directors did not have a contract with the hospital, as a majority of the medical director positions were part-time. However, given the current regulatory environment, contracts are much more prevalent, and contracts now outline how the physician's compensation is structured (hourly rate versus stipend, incentive-based pay, etc.) and how the medical directorship duties are structured (submitting time sheets, requiring a certain amount of work, etc.).

Compensation also depends on the specialty and range of departments. For example, Mr. Stutelberg says there are common medical director positions that are filled by certain specialties such as anesthesia, oncology, cardiology, neurosurgery and others. However, there are new medical directorships that open up the applicant base to almost any physician. "Now what you're finding are broad-based positions," Mr. Stutelberg says. "Medical director of informatics — that could be a surgeon, ER physician, primary care physician. It's not tied to a specialty, and we're seeing more of that."

There are 10 main areas, among several dozen, where physicians and medical directorships have grown and drawn interest, Mr. Stutelberg says. Stroke and vascular lab medical directorships are two areas where he has seen a lot of interest from hospitals and health systems. Their compensation levels are among the lowest of the 10 listed ($36,727 average stipend for stroke medical directors and $66,651 average stipend for vascular lab medical directors), but their average hours worked per year are also among the lowest (299 for stroke and 477 for vascular lab).

Neurosurgery remains as one of the highest compensated medical director positions at an average of $215,377 per year and an average hourly rate of $278.67, but neurosurgery is already one of the highest-compensated specialties in healthcare. Orthopedic surgery medical directors also recorded lofty compensation figures with an average stipend of $89,476 per year. The hourly rate for orthopedic surgery medical directors ($209.36) is close behind neurosurgery, but like neurosurgery, orthopedics command high compensation in the market due to large case volume and efficiency measures.

Of the 10 positions listed, hospitalist medical directors had the lowest hourly rate at an average of $118.89, reinforcing the trend that primary care and frontline physician compensation is still far behind specialist physician pay. Medical directors of informatics earned roughly $146.45 per hour on average, but Mr. Stutelberg says because this position is so new, the compensation levels could vary widely across different areas of the country and will most likely fluctuate over the years.

Here are 120 statistics on those 10 major medical director positions, based on Integrated Healthcare Strategies' 2011 Medical Director Survey.

Cancer center/oncology


Average compensation per year: $111,212
Average hours worked per year: 688
Average hourly rate: $175.06
Compensation per year (50th percentile): $48,000
Average hours worked per year (50th percentile): 336
Average hourly rate (50th percentile): $163.63
Compensation per year (75th percentile): $100,419
Average hours worked per year (75th percentile): 1,006
Average hourly rate (75th percentile): $200
Compensation per year (90th percentile): $272,851
Average hours worked per year (90th percentile): 1,898
Average hourly rate (90th percentile): $261.53

Cardiology (all specialties)


Average compensation per year: $99,887
Average hours worked per year: 553
Average hourly rate: $190.08
Compensation per year (50th percentile): $45,557
Average hours worked per year (50th percentile): 276
Average hourly rate (50th percentile): $174.12
Compensation per year (75th percentile): $112,644
Average hours worked per year (75th percentile): 645
Average hourly rate (75th percentile): $217.50
Compensation per year (90th percentile): $231,516
Average hours worked per year (90th percentile): 1,784
Average hourly rate (90th percentile): $251.48

Emergency medicine


Average compensation per year: $131,490
Average hours worked per year: 801
Average hourly rate: $147.95
Compensation per year (50th percentile): $77,000
Average hours worked per year (50th percentile): 576
Average hourly rate (50th percentile): $145
Compensation per year (75th percentile): $171,900
Average hours worked per year (75th percentile): 1,040
Average hourly rate (75th percentile): $155.39
Compensation per year (90th percentile): $300,474
Average hours worked per year (90th percentile): 2,080
Average hourly rate (90th percentile): $196.43    

Hospitalist


Average compensation per year: $118,341
Average hours worked per year: 996
Average hourly rate: $118.89
Compensation per year (50th percentile): $50,000
Average hours worked per year (50th percentile): 510
Average hourly rate (50th percentile): $112.54
Compensation per year (75th percentile): $203,261
Average hours worked per year (75th percentile): 2,080
Average hourly rate (75th percentile): $131
Compensation per year (90th percentile): $288,390
Average hours worked per year (90th percentile): 2,080
Average hourly rate (90th percentile): $149.80

Information services/medical informatics/EMR


Average compensation per year: $125,667
Average hours worked per year: 891
Average hourly rate: $146.45
Compensation per year (50th percentile): $105,000
Average hours worked per year (50th percentile): 900
Average hourly rate (50th percentile): $130
Compensation per year (75th percentile): $189,950
Average hours worked per year (75th percentile): 1,315
Average hourly rate (75th percentile): $150.30
Compensation per year (90th percentile): $261,056
Average hours worked per year (90th percentile): 2,080
Average hourly rate (90th percentile): $185

Neurosurgery


Average compensation per year: $215,377
Average hours worked per year: 845
Average hourly rate: $278.67
Compensation per year (50th percentile): $100,000
Average hours worked per year (50th percentile): 416
Average hourly rate (50th percentile): $277.78
Compensation per year (75th percentile): $337,570
Average hours worked per year (75th percentile): 1,664
Average hourly rate (75th percentile): $342.90
Compensation per year (90th percentile): $546,540
Average hours worked per year (90th percentile): 2,080
Average hourly rate (90th percentile): $393.15

Orthopedic surgery (all specialties)


Average compensation per year: $89,476
Average hours worked per year: 461
Average hourly rate: $209.36
Compensation per year (50th percentile): $50,000
Average hours worked per year (50th percentile): 233
Average hourly rate (50th percentile): $198.58
Compensation per year (75th percentile): $93,000
Average hours worked per year (75th percentile): 499
Average hourly rate (75th percentile): $250
Compensation per year (90th percentile): $203,000
Average hours worked per year (90th percentile): 983
Average hourly rate (90th percentile): $317.85

Pediatrics (all specialties)


Average compensation per year: $103,592
Average hours worked per year: 846
Average hourly rate: $132.41
Compensation per year (50th percentile): $51,125
Average hours worked per year (50th percentile): 513
Average hourly rate (50th percentile): $125
Compensation per year (75th percentile): $163,544
Average hours worked per year (75th percentile): 1,955
Average hourly rate (75th percentile): $150
Compensation per year (90th percentile): $275,974
Average hours worked per year (90th percentile): 2,080
Average hourly rate (90th percentile): $175.98

Stroke


Average compensation per year: $36,727
Average hours worked per year: 299
Average hourly rate: $147.30
Compensation per year (50th percentile): $26,520
Average hours worked per year (50th percentile): 235
Average hourly rate (50th percentile): $140
Compensation per year (75th percentile): $46,950
Average hours worked per year (75th percentile): 338
Average hourly rate (75th percentile): $160
Compensation per year (90th percentile): $61,963
Average hours worked per year (90th percentile): 710
Average hourly rate (90th percentile): $200

Vascular lab


Average compensation per year: $66,651
Average hours worked per year: 477
Average hourly rate: $179.78
Compensation per year (50th percentile): $56,900
Average hours worked per year (50th percentile): 414
Average hourly rate (50th percentile): $175
Compensation per year (75th percentile): $90,000
Average hours worked per year (75th percentile): 520
Average hourly rate (75th percentile): $200.18
Compensation per year (90th percentile): $142,000
Average hours worked per year (90th percentile): 900
Average hourly rate (90th percentile): $250.00

For more information on Integrated Healthcare Strategies and its medical director survey, click here.

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