Compensation Corner: How Much Should ASC Administrators and DONs Be Paid?
At the 20th Annual Ambulatory Surgery Centers Conference in Chicago on Oct. 24, Amber Walsh, partner at McGuireWoods, moderated a session featuring Joe Ollayos, administrator of Tri-Cities Surgery Center in Geneva, Ill., Tom Jacobs, president and CEO of MedHQ, Greg Zoch, partner and managing director of Kaye/Bassman International, and Paul Esselman, executive vice president of Cejka Executive Search.
The panel discussed the different issues associated with salaries and incentives for ASC administrators and directors of nursing. Before ASCs can set compensation packages for their top leaders, they have to define the type of leader they want to hire. "You have to be honest with who you can attract," Mr. Esselman said. "Look at various sizes and strengths of your ASC versus what's in the market."
There are many challenges associated with recruiting and retaining administrators and DONs. Mr. Jacobs said finding the right administrator is very difficult because it's the highest position within the ASC, and it requires both clinical and financial expertise. "Finding an administrator who has clinical and business acumen is the differentiator," he said.
Mr. Ollayos of Tri-Cities Surgery Center said finding successful DONs can be equally difficult. His surgery center has hired its fourth DON in seven years, and successful DONs are people who have the great clinical skills but who also have "the ability to manage the clinical department and gain consensus with physicians," he said.
Each panelist then shared salary and compensation figures he has seen within the market. Mr. Esselman said administrators can make anywhere between $110,000 per year up to $200,000, depending on geographic region and experience. He has seen DONs received around $100,000 with bonuses and incentives.
Mr. Ollayos said he's seen median salaries for administrators around $110,000 to $115,000 per year, while DONs earn around $85,000. The salaries are still attractive because ASCs offer a more predictable lifestyle and little to no bureaucracy, he said. Mr. Ollayos stressed that compensation may have to be added for those who need to relocate.
Mr. Jacobs said compensation for administrators also varies on several factors, such as size of the ASC (number of operating rooms), single versus multispecialty and whether the ASC has a management company or hospital partner. He has seen similar administrator compensation ranges as Mr. Esselman, anywhere between $100,000 and $200,000.
Mr. Zoch said salary surveys are only a rough start for ASCs to determine compensation level because they have to "focus on the fit first. If the fit's not right, the money doesn't matter." He said most administrators he's seen in his searches and placements have made around $110,000 to $125,000, with bonuses ranging from 10 to 25 percent. DONs typically earn $90,000 to $100,000, but high cost-of-living regions can push those levels up quickly. For example, Mr. Zoch said he has seen DONs in San Francisco make $160,000.
More Articles on the 20th Annual ASC Conference:
How an Ambulatory Surgery Center Escaped the Threat of Bankruptcy
How Payments Work in Co-Management Arrangements
Results From HealthCare Appraisers’ 2013 ASC Valuation Survey
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