Marginal increase in chief medical officer pay

Although physician income scarcely budged from 2007 to 2008, chief medical officers (CMOs) in managed care organizations saw a marginal increase from 2008 to 2009, according to the most recent Physician Executive Management Center’s report, The 2008–09 Survey of Chief Medical Officers.

For 2008, the average salary was $270,262 and the total compensation was $334,171, which included an average bonus of 31 percent.

For 2009, 56 percent of the respondents said that they received an increase in their salary; the remainder did not. Overall, the average salary in 2009 was $274,685.

The report notes that “compensation had increased significantly in previous surveys, but has now stalled in 2008 and 2009, and potentially in 2010.”

“Compensation levels for managed care chief medical officers do seem to be affected by something, perhaps the economic conditions and uncertainty about the future, or health care reform,” says David R. Kirschman, president of the Physician Executive Management Center.

“Participants in this survey did report that they expected less in the way of increased salary levels in 2009 and 2010. The actual effect will be seen in the level of incentive payments received for 2009 and especially for 2010, which will reflect the success of their companies,” says Kirschman.

In line with these survey findings is a recent report by Medical Economics that physicians in private practice had median earnings that were roughly the same in 2008 as they were in 2007.

Pediatricians averaged $187,500, followed by family physicians, general practitioners, and internists, who averaged $162,500. Obstetrician/gynecologists had the top earnings, with a median income of $237,500.-

Total compensation and mean salary

*Mean salary has only been followed since 2000. For 2002–2003, no salary data collected.

Source: Physician Executive Management Center. The 2008–09 Survey of Chief Medical Officers. The report is available at

Our most popular topics on