What is the Going Rate for ASC Administrator, Medical Director Pay?
At a session at the 10th Annual Orthopedic, Spine and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference, Ann Geier, RN, senior vice president of operations, Ambulatory Surgery Centers of America; Danny Bundren, CDA, JD, vice president of development and operations, Symbion Healthcare; and Greg Zoch, managing director, Kaye/Bassman, discussed compensation trends for ambulatory surgery center administrators, business office managers and medical directors in a panel session moderated by Rachel Fields, editor in chief, Becker's ASC Review.
Administrator compensationThe panel began by discussing the average compensation rates for administrators. Mr. Bundren said the average salary he sees for administrators ranges from $110,000 to $125,000. The exact sum, however, varies on the market, size of the center and skills and experience of the administrator. "The question of compensation is really about value," he said.
Mr. Zoch agreed. "The job of administrator is one of the hardest jobs in a surgery center," he said. "The skillset is very important. It is a direct relationship to the price range."
In terms of numbers, Mr. Zoch said the average range he sees is $100,000 to $125,000, though a smaller market may have an average of $90,000, while the administrator of a highly profitable center could earn up to $170,000 in some cases.
The panelists turned to bonus opportunities. While all agreed that bonus opportunities are important, Ms. Geier said that ASCOA does not offer bonuses at the center level, but it provides opportunities for one-off incentives for outstanding work or achievements.
Mr. Bundren added that it's important that bonus opportunities are relatively objective, so that it's clear what goals the employee must meet to earn the extra pay.
According to Mr. Zoch, the average salary of business office managers is $50,000 to $80,000, depending on the individual's experience and the cost of living for the region in which the center is located.
Business office managers
According to Mr. Bundren, ASCs pay medical directors, on average, $1,000 per month for 5 to 6 hours of work. He cautioned though that this compensation must be closely monitored to ensure real work is done to warrant the payment. "It's important you have the right documentation in return for payment," he said. He recommended medical directors keep a time log of every activity they do as a medical director and how much time was spent on it.
Ms. Geier said that ASCOA doesn't compensate medical directors, and so far that model has worked in their centers. She did note though that sometimes it can be a point of contention during the purchase of a center.
Mr. Bundren brought the session to a close by explaining that while medical director pay is limited by certain regulatory restraints, compensation for staff should be guided by how much you want to keep each staff member. "At the end of the day, the market tells you what you have to pay," he said. "If the person you want to keep needs another $5,000 [or will leave for another position], that's the market for that person. You can either pay that or not."
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