MGMA salary survey shows large gains

Is it time for a raise?

It is a heady time for most practice administrators. In a year when inflation was about 3%, most practice administrators saw salaries increase by double-digit percentages. If you worked for a small practice, the gains were even more impressive — with most between 20% and 30%.

That’s according to the Englewood, CO-based Medical Group Management Association’s (MGMA) annual Management Compensation Survey. The latest numbers show that administrators earned between $56,249 and $80,100 in 1996, depending on education level. Increases over the previous year ranged from 5.4% to 12.2%. (See chart, below.)

Experience also was a determining factor, with administrators who have between 16 and 20 years experience earning $84,284, compared to $62,000 for those with five years or less on the job.

There were also differences in compensation depending on whether the administrator was affiliated with the American College of Medical Practice Executives (CMPE). Those who were fellows of the college (FACMPE) earned the most — $93,500 — compared to $74,000 for those without affiliation. Oddly, those with the CMPE designation saw wages slip by $5,000 to $78,000 between 1995 and 1996.

Small practice administrators — those working with six or fewer physicians — saw the biggest income gains. The largest jump was for those with a Master’s degree. (See chart, below.) Those administrators earned nearly 30% more in 1996, when the median salary for that group was $64,920, than in 1995, when the figure was $50,000. Even those with just a high school diploma saw a 28.9% gain to $48,650.

Experience also paid off in this group, with those with more than 20 years experience earning $62,000, up 27.3% over the previous year.

There were not enough Fellows of the college to be statistically significant among small practice administrators, but the CMPE status was enough to earn this group $69,640, up 23.5% over the previous year, more than $13,000 more than a nominee to the college and more than $16,000 more than someone without affiliation at all.

[The survey is available from the MGMA by calling (303) 799-1111.]