Health plan medical directors doing well

Medical directors at health plans saw a 7.2 percent rise in mean direct compensation from 2003 to 2005. Average pay increases for physician executives in recent surveys ranged from 5 percent to 7 percent. What is surprising is that when compared to the larger group of all physician executives surveyed, medical directors at health plans came out on top: 7.2 percent versus 6.7 percent. The Cejka Search/American College of Physician Executives 2005 Physician Executive Compensation Survey found that the mean direct compensation for all medical directors employed by any organization rose 5.5 percent to $239,630 in 2005, compared to $227,010 in 2003. In the bonus department, goals and objectives are still the leading component, but the percentage of physicians with bonuses tied to quality measurements more than doubled, from 15 percent to 31 percent. The number and types of quality measurements factored into a bonus rose by 107 percent.

The top earners among physician executives were medical directors of single-specialty groups who reported an average yearly income of $340,000. Compare this with executives working for government institutions, who reported an average income of $170,000.

Some positions reported declines from 2003 to 2005. Chief medical officers in both HMOs and multispecialty groups, along with associate and assistant medical directors in multi-specialty groups, reported decreases that ranged from 4 percent to 7 percent.

2003 and 2005 median physician executive compensation

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