Survey: Healthcare salaries strong, but workload a worry
- A soon-to-be-release survey by Health eCareers shows a continued upswing in health sector salaries and general confidence in the market, FierceHealthcare reports.
- The survey included more than 19,700 healthcare workers ranging from physicians and nurses to executives, IT personnel and social service workers. Of those, 87% reported making as much or more than last year. Average pay for healthcare executives increased 18% to $158,637.
- Nurse practitioner and physician assistant salaries rose 2% to $102,523 and $108,311, respectively, while physician pay edged up 1% to $258,039. Salaries for nurses grew 5% to $70,734. When asked about their chief worries in the coming year, one-third of respondents cited increased administrative burdens and patient load — echoing recent studies on physician satisfaction and burnout.
Increasing pay seems to be a bright spot for current and incoming medical professionals, but there are still concerns that increased use of EHRs and more overall data gathering will continue to frustrate providers. There are also still geographic- and gender-based wage gaps.
Among the health professionals who saw the biggest salary bumps last year were registered nurses, pharmacy technicians and medical assistants, according to Glassdoor.
Average pay for RNs rose 3.4% last year to an average $61,306, with higher salaries in the major metropolitan areas of Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco.
Compensation for healthcare CEOs has also surged in some cases. Prussia, Pa.-based Universal Health Services Chairman and CEO Alan Miller was the highest-paid hospital CEO in 2016, earning more than $51.3 million. And WellCare CEO Ken Burdick earned a total of $9.26 million, up 18.8% from 2015.
Recently, rising salaries have drawn a bead on some healthcare executives. In North Carolina, lawmakers in the House voted unanimously this spring to approve a bill that would cap salary and compensation for top executives of behavioral health managed care organizations. The bill seemed targeted at Cardinal Healthcare Innovations CEO Richard Topping, whose salary and annual compensation are $635,000 and $1.2 million, respectively. His salary is more than three times the average — $200,000 — for a managed care organization in the state.
While the reforms failed to pass the North Carolina Senate, they suggest lawmakers may not tolerate unbridled pay increases for healthcare leaders.
- FierceHealthcare Healthcare salaries on the rise, but workload concerns linger