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Salary Levels for Chief Financial Officers in Hospitals

by Beth Greenwood

Senior managers in hospitals have major responsibilities, and the CFO has a particularly demanding job, according to “Becker's Hospital Review.” The magazine notes that decreasing reimbursement from insurance companies and government payers requires very careful fiscal management. As a result, CFO compensation is a very important issue for hospitals that want to attract and retain talented individuals.

Limited BLS Data

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports financial managers in private, state and local government hospitals earned an average annual salary of $117,470 in 2012. That group, however, includes financial managers at all levels, not just CFOs. Salaries for top executives, a group more likely to include CFOs and other senior level executives, averaged $140,140. Hospital size, location, experience and other factors affect CFO salaries. Some organizations add bonuses, incentives and stock options, which increase total compensation.

Size Matters

"Becker’s Hospital Review" reports the average hospital CFO salary varied from $95,000 to the mid-$300,000 range in 2011. In smaller critical access hospitals, which might only have 25 acute-care beds, salaries ranged from $80,000 to $100,000. A hospital with 75 to 200 beds typically paid a salary in the mid-$100,000 range, while hospitals of 200 to 300 beds paid an average of $200,000. Large, multihospital systems might pay a CFO as much as $500,000. Becker’s also notes that in today’s stringent financial environment, hospital CFO responsibilities may increase without any change in salary.

Nonprofit Hospitals Pay Well

The top-grossing nonprofit hospitals paid higher-than-average salaries for CFOs in 2010, according to “Becker’s Hospital Review.” Of the 25 hospitals included in the report, CFO salaries ranged from $538,749 at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston to $3.24 million at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y. CFOs at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, Norton Hospital in Louisville, Ky., Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, all earned over $1 million in 2010.

For-Profits Sweeten the Pot

The largest for-profit hospitals -- some of which were multihospital systems -- paid base salaries ranging from $400,000 to $849,984 in 2010, according to “Becker’s Hospital Review.” Incentives, bonuses and stock awards, however, could significantly affect the CFO’s total compensation. At IASIS Healthcare in Franklin, Tenn., CFO John Doyle received additional compensation of $1.57 million, bringing his total compensation to $1.97 million. CFO Larry Cash of Community Health Systems -- also based in Franklin -- earned a salary of $750,000 and received $7.98 million in additional compensation.

About the Author

Beth Greenwood is an RN and has been a writer since 2010. She specializes in medical and health topics, as well as career articles about health care professions. Greenwood holds an Associate of Science in nursing from Shasta College.

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