Base pay, incentives up for health system executives


Turnover in healthcare leadership positions is up, with more executives looking to retire after years of COVID-19. At the same time, health systems have become more complex as they consolidate, requiring additional levels of experience.

Healthcare organizations face stiff competition in their search for executive talent as a result—leading decision-makers to boost compensation and shift resources toward emerging needs.

Nearly 40% of healthcare organizations said they have increased efforts to recruit more executives over the past year, according to consulting firm SullivanCotter, which provides data from more than 2,000 health systems, hospitals, medical groups and health plans of varying sizes for Modern Healthcare’s annual Management and Executive Compensation Survey.

“The pandemic created the perfect storm, requiring organizations to meaningfully address their evolving workforce and talent strategies … along with the overdue equity needs of their teams and patient populations,” said Jessica Homann, vice president at recruiting firm Furst Group.

Rising salaries

Health systems are willing to pay more for the best talent, as they work to balance the reality of a competitive market with ongoing financial pressures.

Median base salaries have increased for dozens of leadership positions, according to the SullivanCotter survey.

Human resources executives saw the highest bump in median base pay across all health systems, rising 7.3% from early 2021 to 2022.

At systems with less than $1 billion in net revenue, chief information officers—tasked with leading IT initiatives—had the highest year-over-year increase in median base salary at 8.4%.

Systems with between $1 billion and $3 billion in net revenue raised base pay the most for government relations executives, who act as policy liaisons for their employers’ interests.



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