The onset and evolution of the COVID-19 global pandemic forced every industry across the United States to think differently about how to conduct day-to-day business. Even as millions of Americans received vaccinations and social restrictions evolved, many healthcare organizations continue to experience significant financial and operational challenges.
Based on experience working with healthcare clients from across the country, Gallagher's compensation consulting team has noted medical director and physician executive roles experiencing increased pressure in response to navigating these challenges. Physician leaders and their administrative colleagues invested increased time and effort to effectively manage the strategic, operational, and cultural impact of the pandemic on care delivery.
As part of our 2021 Medical Director and Physician Executive Survey, Gallagher asked organizations to respond to questions outlining potential changes to administrative roles due to COVID-19:
- Did your organization's physicians provide additional time and effort in their administrative roles due to the COVID-19 public health emergency?
- Did your organization increase annual hours caps for its administrative roles due to the COVID-19 public health emergency?
- Did the COVID-19 public health emergency affect your organization's administrative compensation for physicians in any other way?
Based on the responses, approximately 71% of reporting organizations' physicians provided additional time and effort due to COVID-19, and 9% of reporting organizations increased their annual administrative hours caps. Gallagher will continue to monitor these emerging trends and will share additional findings in next year's 2022 Medical Director and Physician Executive Survey reflecting calendar year 2021 data and hours.
National trends show growth of system-wide roles
Through Gallagher's 2021 Medical Director and Physician Executive Survey and our consulting work, we continued to see growth of system-wide roles with oversight accountability for local medical directors or physician leaders in individual facilities or regions. This trend has caused some organizations to take into account reporting relationships and breadth of responsibility when establishing compensation for system roles.
Further, as the demands on physician executives overseeing large service lines expand, we increasingly see shared leadership roles pairing two physicians or a physician and an administrator. Such arrangements enable physicians in those roles to maintain their clinical skills and practices.
Market data trends holding steady
Gallagher analysts reviewed the median data from the past five years for several specialties and found that hourly rates remained relatively steady or increased slightly. On average, median hourly rates increased by 1.3% from 2020 to 2021, with primary care positions showing the largest increase of 2.3%; meanwhile, surgical positions increased by 0.2% during the same period. The figure below shows the median hourly rate over the last five years for three of the survey specialties.
Over the past five years of the survey, the number of participants and specialties has continued to grow, as the following chart shows.
Gallagher's survey is unique in that it provides data on many non-specialty-specific medical director positions. The graphic below illustrates the number of reported specialty-specific and non-specialty-specific positions in our 2021 survey.
The reported 17 non-specialty specific positions include functional roles such as clinical integration, utilization review/case management and quality management. These detailed benchmark data offer valuable insight to hospitals and health systems working to appropriately compensate physicians for an expanding range of administrative leadership and development activity, critical to the ongoing success of the organization.
In addition to 114 medical director positions, the 2021 Medical Director and Physician Executive Survey reported data for 23 physician executive positions, representing 653 individual physician executives. For additional information about either medical directors or physician executives, please contact us.
Participate in the 2022 survey and purchase results
Participation opens June 1, 2022 for the 2022 Medical Director and Physician Executive Survey. Participants will receive a complimentary PDF copy of the survey report when it publishes in November 2022.
This survey is but one of a wide range of healthcare and medical compensation surveys that Gallagher offers.
To discuss your provider compensation situation with a Gallagher expert, or to purchase a copy of Gallagher's 2021 Medical Director and Physician Executive Survey Report, please visit www.ajg.com/comp-survey-reports