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Archive January 2020 XXI, No. 1

Salary Survey

Your annual paycheck checkup

Joe Paone

Joe Paone



As we do every January, it’s time to examine the health of your compensation package. In 2004, when Outpatient Surgery Magazine conducted its first salary survey, ambulatory surgery center leaders on average made $79,358 and their hospital outpatient department counterparts made $85,077. Fast forward 16 years and today’s average OR manager’s salary is set firmly in six-figure territory: $106,520 for ASC administrators and $119,758 for HOPD directors. That’s a 34% increase in average ASC pay and a 41% increase in HOPD pay from 2003 to 2019, which begs the loaded question in 2020: Yes, salaries for surgical facility leaders have come a long way and look good on paper — but have they come far enough to fairly compensate you for your level of expertise and responsibility for the budgets you control, for the staff you manage, for the surgeons you (try to) keep happy, for the patients you satisfy and for the countless unpaid hours you work beyond the 40-hour workweek?

salary survey
SOURCE: Outpatient Surgery Magazine 2019 online salary survey, December 2019. Based on 406 responses.

“If my salary were to be broken down per hour, I would likely make less than the other nurses who work for our facility,” says Andi Boren, BSN, RN, director of nursing at Surgery Center 121 in Plano, Texas. “However, I find the personal satisfaction in my position to be just as rewarding, if not more, as the financial compensation I receive.”

When you run today’s salaries through the U.S. government’s Consumer Price Index calculator, which is the closest thing to an official cost-of-living metric, they fall a bit short of what they should be, given the CPI increases between 2003 and 2019.

“I’ve been a nurse for almost 34 years and have been maxed out on my salary since 2015,” says one survey respondent. “I’m actually making less money because our benefits continue to increase every year, as do my deductibles and co-pays.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, about half of our more than 400 survey respondents feel their salaries are lagging behind those of their peers and that they’re worth considerably more. How much more? ASC leaders believe their salary should be $12,925 higher to $119,445 (12.1% increase) and HOPD leaders feel they deserve $10,009 more for a salary of $129,767 (8.4% increase).

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