MGMA: Practice management staff salaries vary

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In some practices, particularly larger ones, management professionals saw pay increases last year.However, most compensation for these professionals remained static, according to this year’s "Management Compensation Survey" put forth by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

Recently, MGMA reported that physician salaries account for an estimated 8 percent of total U.S. spending on medical care and these totaled $216 billion in 2009. Total national health spending reached $2.5 trillion in that year.

The current survey based on 2010 data showed that median compensations for administrators in practices staffing seven to 25 full-time equivalent (FTE) physicians to be $115,000, a 0.28 percent increase from 2009. For those practicing in groups with 26 or more FTE physicians, median compensations were $150,756 in 2010. Administrators in practices housing six or fewer FTE physicians saw a slight decrease in compensation, which were reported to be $86,459 in 2010. On the other hand, administrators in practices housing six or fewer FTE physicians saw slight decreases in compensation, which were reported to be $86,459 in 2010.

However, due to expanded responsibilities, compensation for business service directors and branch/satellite clinic managers saw modest increases, 5.7 percent and 2.57 percent, respectively. MGMA reported that business services director compensation increased from $83,762 to $88,540 while branch and satellite clinic manager compensation increased from $56,068 to $57,510. Additionally, marketing and communications specialists’ pay increased 0.74 percent to $49,262.

“The generally static compensation of practice management professionals reflects the difficult economic environment faced by medical practices,” said MGMA President and CEO William F. Jessee, MD. “Flat or declining revenues in the face of continuing increases in operating costs are forcing many practices to sell or close. For those that are able to survive, compensation levels are generally flat or declining.”

Additionally, in a separate survey—"Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data"—MGMA reported that compensation for specialists practicing in multispecialty and single-specialty practices differed by more than $18,000; $258,677 vs. $240,569, respectively.

MGMA’s "Management Compensation Survey: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data" provides data on 7,240 managers in 1,287 medical practices.