Salaries of medical directors and associate/assistant medical directors have risen by more than 30 percent over the last 10 years, according to the 2007 Cejka Search/American College of Physician Executives Compensation Survey. In 1997, medical directors earned an average of $175,000; associate/assistant medical directors earned an average of $160,000. In 2007, salaries of medical directors averaged $240,000. Associate/assistant medical directors averaged $210,000 — a 37-percent and 31-percent increase, respectively.
Another way to look at it, however, is that the Consumer Price Index rose 28.5 percent during those years, so these valuable professionals are not much ahead of where they were 10 years ago in terms of buying power. It costs $225,000 to buy today what $175,000 bought 10 years ago.
When stratified by type of organization, medical directors employed by hospitals were paid the most, followed by single-specialty groups, multispecialty groups, health plans, and academic health centers. Associate/assistant medical directors of multispecialty groups were paid the most, followed by hospitals, academic health centers, and, at the bottom, health plans. Interestingly, associate/assistant medical directors employed by a health plan experienced a 1-percent drop in salary in 2007, but this is not statistically significant because of the low response rate.
*Higher pay for associates is an anomaly. The sample for this group was very small.