Hospital size, reporting relationship big factors in CIO pay

Hospital chief information officers, on average, earned roughly $208,000 annually in 2012, although those at critical access facilities with fewer than 25 beds earned as little as $80,000 per year, according to a new compensation survey published this week by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.

While hospital size was just one of several factors that played a part in the varying salaries of CIOs--others included location, type of organization, title and reporting relationship--it did prove to be an important one. CIOs who worked at hospitals with fewer than 200 beds earned 34 percent less in base salary compared to those who worked at facilities with between 200 and 399 beds.

Title also was a big factor, as 37 percent of respondents with CIO-only titles earned $199,890, on average, compared to the 28 percent of respondents who earned $206,788 on average and carried the additional title of vice president. Those who carried senior or executive vice president titles--11 percent--earned an average of $310,326 annually.

Reporting relationship was important, as well, as CIOs who reported to chief financial officers said they made $175,263, on average; those who reported to a hospital's CEO took home $217,170 annually.

"As CIOs take on high-profile projects that affect the delivery of care and improved charge capture, they are gaining more attention from senior executives, Linda Hodges, a senior vice president at Oak Brook, Ill.-based executive search firm Witt/Kieffer and a former member of CHIME's board of trustees, said in an announcement. "Reporting relationships often take a while to change in healthcare organizations, but the CIO's role in achieving strategic initiatives is significant at most hospitals now."

For the survey, which was conducted between Dec. 2012 and Jan. 2013, CHIME received responses from 263 of its 1,450 members (18 percent). Thirty-six percent of respondents worked in community hospitals, while 32 percent worked in multi-hospital systems. Additionally, 9 percent worked in academic medical centers; 7 percent worked in hospital/clinic model organizations; 4 percent were employed at critical access hospitals. The remaining 12 percent worked at "other varieties of healthcare organizations."

To learn more:
- here's the survey (.pdf)
- read the accompanying announcement