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First-of-its-kind rural provider compensation report released

In partnership with NRHA, Stroudwater Associates, the nation’s leading source for operational, financial, quality, and clinical strategy for rural and community health care, has released the results of the State of Rural Compensation in 2023.
The survey results and report illustrate the enormous variability in provider pay across rural organizations and the pressing need for rural health care to align provider compensation with organizational goals.
“For years, compensation data has been widely accessible in urban and suburban settings that often have larger hospitals, health systems, and academic medical centers. Rural hospitals face different challenges as it relates to provider compensation packages, and it was critical that they have data that applies to them,” says Opal H. Greenway, JD, MBA, CVA, Stroudwater principal.
“The inaugural results of the survey underscore that current rural provider compensation strategies are unsustainable, defy best practices, and could lead to compliance risks for hospitals.”
The rural provider compensation survey measured total compensation within a calendar year, consistent with the Medical Group Management Association definition of total compensation. The survey received 156 responses from 42 states representing more than 6,000 providers.
“This survey and its findings represent a crucial step in supporting the success of rural hospitals," emphasized Alan Morgan, CEO of NRHA. "Healthcare providers in rural areas face notably different challenges compared to urban settings. Understanding compensation structures tailored to these unique circumstances is essential.”
Key results from the survey include:
  • 56 percent of respondents pay providers a straight salary with no performance or quality incentives.
  • 17.7 percent of family medicine physicians without OB earn more than $305,500 annually.
  • Independent and affiliated rural hospitals may not know what they are paying providers covered under professional service agreements.
Together with NRHA, Stroudwater Associates plans to update and distribute this survey annually at no cost to continue to provide rural hospitals with information on physician and advanced practice provider compensation.
Click here to download the full report.
NRHA adapted the above piece from Stroudwater Associatesa trusted NRHA partner, for publication within the Association’s Rural Health Voices blog.

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