Physical therapists in long-term care facilities received an average pay increase of 3.7% in 2023, which outpaces increases seen in other healthcare settings serving seniors.
The lowest hourly rates for long-term care physical therapists were in Bismarck, ND, at $39.26, while the highest rate was in Boston at $51.64 per hour. Los Angeles was a close second for the highest pay at $51.26 per hour, per the report.
The numbers are part of the 17th annual Hospital and Healthcare Compensation Service Rehabilitation Salary & Benefits Report, which was released Monday and looks at the pay and benefits for therapists in the long-term care sector.
“Long-term care providers have been facing significant workforce challenges for several years, but recent developments suggest that these issues are starting to stabilize,” Rosanne Zabka, director of Reports for the Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service, said in an email to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Tuesday.
Although the report shows smaller rate increases than in some previous years for LTC therapists, Zabka said a positive indicator is that pay increases are returning to pre-pandemic levels.
What they earn, base and bonus
The report surveyed 1,455 long-term care facilities and covers data from July 2022 to June 2023.
The average rate for a director of physical therapy in a long-term care facility is $102,272 with an average bonus of $10,334. Other average rates include: $99,481 for a director of occupational therapy with an average bonus of $9,996; $97,171 for a director of speech language pathology with an average bonus of $10,047. Other findings included: $81,909 for a manager-level PT assistant with an average bonus of $6,781; and $80,048 for a certified OT assistant with an average bonus of $6,641.
All therapy disciplines are expected to see rate hikes from July 2023 to June 2024 ranging from 3.3% for directors of physical therapy, and PT, OT and SLP staff members to 3.38% for OT and SLP directors.
Approximately half of the responding facilities offer assistance for tuition assistance for both hourly and management employees. For hourly employees, 50.1% of respondents offer an average of $4,641; for management employees, the same percentage offer an average of $4,578 for this fringe benefit. One-third of facilities — 33.1% — offer continuing education for hourly employees and 49.7% also make it available to those in management.
All facilities that responded to the electronic questionnaires offer paid time off for employees, with this benefit ranging from an average of 19.7 days for employees with just one year of work history and up to an average of 29.7 days for employees who have been at the facility for more than 20 years. Most facilities offered holiday pay, with 64.2% providing time-and-a-half and 26.9% offering double-time.
The full report is available from HCS for $325 at www.hhcsinc.com.