Physicians represent the most highly trained members of the health industry’s workforce. But on average, they are not the highest earners in healthcare. That distinction belongs not to those who deliver care, but to those who oversee the business of medicine. An analysis conducted by Compdata Surveys on behalf of the New York Times determined the following – the average insurance chief executive officer makes $584,000 per annum. The average hospital CEO makes $386,000 per year, and an average hospital administrator takes home $237,000. That compares to $185,000 per year for a general doctor, though the average surgeon earns $306,000.
If anything, the gaps between executive pay and physician pay are even larger than these numbers suggest since many top executives earn the bulk of their income in nonsalary compensation. As an example, Mark Bertolini, the chief executive of Aetna, earned a salary just short of 1 million dollars in 2012, but the total compensation package was in excess of $36 million. Given the national goal of containing healthcare expenditures, this level of compensation is likely to come under greater scrutiny and pressure during the years ahead.