Moving Up
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Moving Up            | HORNE Salary Survey, Sharon Walden.

Sharon Walden.
HORNE’s salary survey trends paint promising outlook for 2013; shows increased pay for pharmacists, technicians and IT specialists, lower pay for managers

Salary changes in clinical and clerical positions, staff turnover rates, and changes in benefits were notable trends in the 2012 HORNE LLP Medical Office Staff Salary Survey. 

For more information on the 2012 HORNE LLP Medical Office Staff Salary Survey, visit

“Overall compensation levels have grown over the past year, the turnover rate at the general and administrative levels are lower than in prior years, with an overall reduction in turnover levels by 2 percent from 2011 to 2012,” said Sharon Walden, CPC, director of the annual HORNE Salary Survey. “Additionally, our participation levels were up from last year.” 

Even though HORNE’s Salary Survey doesn’t include medical doctors, it reflects intriguing statistics on non-physician providers such as nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician’s assistants (PAs).

For example, an analysis of turnover percentages for nurse practitioners (NPs) was 8.7 percent in 2011; in 2012, it rose to 12.7 percent. For physician assistants (PAs), the turnover rate was 11.5 percent in 2011, and dropped to 8 percent in 2012.

More specifically, NPs specializing in orthopedics enjoyed the highest annual compensation packages (75th percentile), specifically in physician practices with 11-20 providers ($114,500). The median annual compensation packages for NPs were highest for cardiology specialties ($97,321), followed by orthopedics ($95,667). Regionally, NPs were better compensated in the Midwest ($91,427), compared to the Southeast ($84,351). In the Southeast, NPs found more money in Louisiana ($86,150), followed by Mississippi, Virginia, and Tennessee.

The trend for PA pay was similar to that of NPs with notable differences. For example, PAs specializing in orthopedics commanded the highest annual compensation (75th percentile) in physician practices with 1-5 providers ($110,475). The median annual compensation packages for PAs were highest in orthopedics ($93,835), followed by internal medicine ($87,780), multi-specialty ($87,153) and family practice ($82,000). Total annual compensation differences between the Midwest and Southeast weren’t as sharp, with PAs in the Midwest garnering a median rate of $87,922, compared to $85,808 in the Southeast. Higher-paying positions were also found in Louisiana for PAs ($90,938), with similar trends for southern states as NPs.

Just In: Physicians’ Compensation

The 2012 Physician Compensation Survey from Physicians Practice magazine has just been released. It can be viewed online at this address:

NPs and PAs found similar salaries with hospital-only positions, with a median income of $90,000, and $85,369, respectively.

NPs and PAs reported 2012 bonuses based on incentives: personal production (70 percent), overall practice profits (12 percent), and quality (11 percent). Non-monetary benefits reflected continuing education (85 percent), professional association dues (79 percent), communications equipment (43 percent), additional insurance benefits (27 percent), and retirement contributions (15 percent).

Experienced pharmacists enjoyed increased clout last year. In 2011, pharmacists with more than five years’ experience reported a median hourly income of $42. In 2012, the rate jumped to $51.06. Coincidentally, pharmacy technicians’ median income dropped from $15.50 in 2011, to $14 in 2012.

Other clinical positions changed slightly, with technicians gaining the most ground salary-wise in the specialties of bone density, cardiovascular/EKG, mammography, MRI, nuclear medicine, orthopedic, surgery, ultrasound and x-ray. Audiologists, physical therapy assistants, and registered nurses in supervisory and research roles saw their median income increase. Certified athletic trainers saw the biggest median income drop in clinical posts, from $26.92 in 2011, to $20.81 in 2012.

A quick look at general and administrative position salary changes includes slightly increased pay for entry- and mid-level accountants, and decreased pay for CPAs. Billing services supervisors saw a median bump from $18.60 to $21 per hour, and systems analysts’ pay increased from $24.46 to $29.81, while HIPAA officers’ median hourly pay dropped from $31 to $21.41, operations managers’ pay dropped from $35 to $24.23, and practice managers’ pay dropped from $28.50 to $25.99.  

Upper management bonuses were based on overall practice profits (30 percent), personal production incentives (28 percent), and quality incentives (16 percent). Non-monetary benefits included professional association dues (82 percent), continuing education (54 percent), communications equipment (52 percent), and additional insurance benefits (28 percent) and retirement contributions (14 percent).

 “As healthcare changes, so does the HORNE Salary Survey,” said Walden. “Changes to this year’s survey from last year’s include the addition of a new management position, 10 new clinical positions, addition of a new report on top EMR vendors used by participants, and the addition of a new part time employee analysis report, which contains information on benefits.”

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) statistics showed that physician practices and hospital systems are lagging on the transition from paper to electronic records, more so than anticipated.

A recap of findings reflects:

  • 71 percent use an EMR package.
  • 60 percent acquired a new practice management package with EMR integrated.
  • Nearly half (48.8 percent) invested more than $12,000 per provider for the EMR package.
  • 85 percent of respondents budget up to $20,000 annually for EMR maintenance cost per provider.
  • 70 percent use EMR via handheld or tablet input devices.
  • 97 percent who have EMR also have the capability to e-prescribe.
  • 94 percent of those with EMR actively use the e-prescribing program.
  • Of 158 respondents with EMR, the leading vendors were Allscripts (12.7 percent), Greenway Medical (10.1 percent), and NextGen (10.1 percent).
  • 64 percent outsources IT functions.
  • 81 percent of medical staff has Internet access.
  • 54 percent participate in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS).

“We’re looking into new types of reports for the upcoming year, which include producing surveys at state levels if the minimum participation threshold is met; including additional information based on practice ownership (physician or hospital),” said Walden. “We sincerely appreciate participation in our survey this year, and welcome feedback and suggestions for changes to future reports.”


HORNE Salary Survey, Sharon Walden.

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