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COVID-19: Pandemic prompted compensation drops for practice executives, managers

MGMA Stat - June 29, 2020

Compensation & Benefits


Provider Compensation

MGMA Staff Members

The Medical Group Management Association’s most recent MGMA Stat poll asked healthcare leaders: “Has your compensation dropped amid COVID-19?” The majority (61%) answered “yes,” while 39% responded “no.”

Among those who noted decreased compensation, their roles in medical practices varied:
  • 31% identified themselves as C-level.
  • 40% identified as senior management.
  • 15% identified as managers.
  • 10% identified as providers.
  • 4% identified as “other.”

The poll was conducted June 26, 2020, with 906 applicable responses.

The negative financial impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and associated shutdown of many aspects of the economy has been well-documented for clinical team members and other staff of medical practices:
  • A May 19 MGMA Stat poll revealed that 82% of respondents reported that some or all of their providers’ compensation was impacted by the crisis, which often took the form of reduced hours and/or salaries, the elimination of performance bonuses and reduced funding for continuing medical education (CME).
  • Practices saw a 55% decrease in revenue and a 60% decrease in patient volume by early April from the start of the COVID-19 crisis, per MGMA’s COVID-19 Financial Impact on Medical Practices report.
Pandemic hits pause on growth
Prior to the pandemic, healthcare occupations were projected to add more jobs than any other group, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): Healthcare occupations were projected to grow by 1.9 million jobs, or 14%, from 2018 to 2028.

The early months of the pandemic severely disrupted that upward trend, with a variety of factors — including emergency federal relief efforts — contributing to a slow recovery in bringing back jobs lost in healthcare. The healthcare industry added more than 312,400 jobs in May after 1.4 million jobs were lost from March to April, per preliminary, seasonally adjusted data from the BLS.

Increases in various staff salaries in recent years further cemented payroll as the top budget expense of medical practices. In particular, the 2020 MGMA Management and Staff Compensation Report, based on 2019 data, found that nursing compensation had grown sizably since 2015:
  • Licensed practical nurse (LPN) compensation rose 14.26%.
  • Registered nurse (RN) compensation rose 22.94%.
  • Triage nurse compensation rose 25.36%.
  • Practice management salaries over the same five-year period saw similar but smaller growth: 
  • General management compensation increased 9.97% from 2015 to 2019. 
  • Senior management positions rose 14.05% in the same period.
MGMA data 
The 2020 MGMA Management and Staff Compensation Report represents comparative data from more than 164,000 management and staff positions in 3,400 organizations. The report is based on a voluntary response by MGMA member and nonmember practices. On Jan. 6, 2020, MGMA opened the 2020 Compensation and Production Survey, which collected data on management and staff compensation (in addition to providers) reflective of 2019. The collected data is reported online in the 2020 MGMA DataDive Management and Staff Compensation. Information from MGMA surveys are published in MGMA DataDive
Would you like to join our polling panel to voice your opinion on important practice management topics? MGMA Stat is a national poll that addresses practice management issues, the impact of new legislation and related topics. Participation is open to all healthcare leaders. Results of other polls and information on how to participate in MGMA Stat are available at:
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