CMO pay raises averaged 9.9% in 2004–2005

Pay increases for chief medical officers have been pretty consistent from year to year, says Tom Pavlik, managing principal of Sullivan, Cotter & Associates, a consulting company that specializes in compensation.

“The 9.9 percent increase [in total cash compensation] between 2004 and 2005 is relatively consistent with many organizations, which are implementing leverage models that use some incentive program,” says Pavlik. “Rather than just increasing an executive’s base salary by a large amount, organizations are instead implementing an incentive program if none exists, or if they do have an incentive program, the organization may choose to increase financial goals.

“We’ve seen, over the last five years, that the use of incentive plans has increased and that the target maximum awards have gone up,” says Pavlik.

Additionally, the pay scale for part-time medical directors “continues to be a hot issue for health care organizations,” says Kim Mobley, a principal of Sullivan, Cotter & Associates. She reports that the median pay for a part-time medical director, regardless of specialty, is $125 per hour.

The company indicates that average salary increases for physicians in 2004 were up slightly, with a 4.5 percent increase for specialists and a 4.1 percent increase for primary care physicians. These figures come after a number of years in which average physician salary increases were less than 4 percent. The greatest increases were in dermatology (18.7 percent), cardiology (15.7 percent), anesthesiology (15.4 percent), radiology (14.4 percent), and radiation therapy (12.8 percent).

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