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CIO Compensation Varies by Hospital Size, Region, Chain of Command

February 27, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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In healthcare, there is often a reported divide in health IT adoption between smaller, critical access hospitals (CAHs) and large, urban-centered multiple-hospital health systems. According to a new study conducted by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), that divide carries over into CIO compensation as well.

The survey of 263 CIOs at various sized facilities revealed that those respondents from CAHs (with fewer than 25 beds) earned base salaries that were $80,000 less than the average for all respondents. The rural CIOs on average earn approximately half of the multiple-hospital health system CIOs, who on average get compensated the most at $254,054/year.

The size of the beds directly correlated with the compensation, the report’s authors found. It wasn’t just a matter of rural vs. urban. For instance, base salaries earned by CIOs working at hospitals with fewer than 200 beds were 34 percent less than those who reported they were working at organizations with 200 to 399 beds. Those CIOs who worked at hospitals with more than 1,000 beds earned the most.

In terms of regional disparity, west coast CIOs earned the most with an average of $232,181, while CIOs in the West Central South region around Texas earned the least on average, at $186,429. 

There was also a disparity in salary when it came to chain of command and education level. If a CIO reported to a CEO, then their salary was on average $217,170. For the CIOs who reported to the company’s CFO, it was $175,263.  Meanwhile, CIOs who had medical degrees earned, on average, more than $100,000 more than CIOs with just a bachelor degree.

The survey also revealed that 2012 wasn’t a great year for salary increases for CIOs. According to CHIME, 44 percent reported receiving either no increase or less than a 3 percent raise. In total, 74 percent of CIOs received less than a 5 percent increase in salary.

“While CIOs are taking on increasing responsibility to implement systems that are mission-critical, salary increases have been modest as healthcare organizations adjust to tighter reimbursement for care and rising costs in a number of areas,” Gary Barnes, CIO at Medical Center Health System in Odessa, Texas, said in a statement.

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