Job description: Medical Director

By Madeline Hyden
June 6, 2012
Body of Knowledge Domain(s): Human Resource Management

This is the first blog in a series of posts that outline job descriptions of various positions in a medical practice.


The role physicians play in the nonclinical setting is becoming more complex as the medical practice landscape evolves. We compiled lists of job functions, duties and responsibilities, and compensation considerations to help you put together your medical director’s job description.

Main functions of a medical director:

  • Holds the senior medical administrative position in a medical group practice
  • Responsible for a number of  activities related to the delivery of medical care and clinical services such as cost management, utilization review, quality assurance, and medical protocol development
  • Oversees the activities of group physicians, including the recruiting and credentialing processes
  • Reports to the physician CEO/president and/or to the governing body of the organization

Directorship duties and responsibilities:

  • Attend standing meetings (board, committee, etc.)
  • Develop and manage a budget, including presenting monthly financial reports to practice staff with the support of administration
  • Monitor quality and appropriateness of medical care
  • Provide guidance and leadership for performance guidelines
  • Develop policies and procedures
  • Manage strategic development
  • Oversee clinical peer review
  • Oversee documentation and care planning
  • Manage physician relations and/or representation
  • Handle clinical patient complaints
  • Address emergency issues
  • Support physician education
  • Manage community relations
  • Handle physician behavior and impairment issues

According to the MGMA Medical Directorship and On-Call Compensation Survey: 2012 Report Based on 2011 Data, nearly 11 percent more medical directors reported handling "quality and appropriateness of care" as part of their duties and responsibilities in 2011 than in 2010. In addition:

  • 15 percent more medical directors said they engage in strategic development
  • 12 percent more said they provide guidance and leadership for performance guidelines 
  • 14 percent more handle physician relations and/or representation

Medical director compensation:

The majority of medical directors represented in the MGMA Medical Directorship and On-Call Compensation Survey: 2012 Report Based on 2011 Data were paid a specified amount on top of their annual physician compensation because the majority of their time was spent on clinical, non-administrative duties. In large practices or systems, medical directors may spend most of their time in an administrative capacity. In turn, their directorship compensation is commensurate with these functions. Depending on your group’s specialty and the scope of responsibility, a medical director may receive a monthly stipend, an hourly rate or an annual compensation.

The amount of time spent on directorship activities also affects compensation. Nearly 50 percent of survey respondents indicated they spent fewer than six hours per week on directorship activities, according to the MGMA Medical Directorship and On-Call Compensation Survey: 2012 Report Based on 2011 Data. The survey report also shows that median compensation increased as directorship duties consumed more of a physician’s time. For example, a medical director may receive an additional compensation of $9,000 for two hours per week or less of directorship duties vs. $20,000 for three to five hours per week of directorship duties.  

For more information on job descriptions, search the libraries in the MGMA Member Community for example job descriptions and to exchange ideas with your peers.

Madeline Hyden, digital editor, Corporate Communications, MGMA


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