Executive compensation: Hospital CEOs in Massachusetts get raises amid falling profits

Hospital executive pay continues to climb even as profits fall in Massachusetts, according to the Lowell Sun.

Even as financial indicators such as profit margins and asset-to-liability ratios weaken, hospitals in Massachusetts have held firm on investment in executive pay, the newspaper reported.

The highest-paid executive in the region, Lowell General Hospital CEO Normand Deschene, made $1.95 million in total compensation in 2014, according to the article. The same year, non-physician administrator pay rose 41 percent at Lawrence General Hospital.

Defenders of such compensation argue it's necessary to retain top talent, although many systems lack the means to create such incentives.

"Because we're resource-limited, compared to (academic) hospitals, we're even more dependent in these challenging times to bring in somebody who can manage risk," Richard Santagati, chairman of Lawrence General's executive compensation committee, told the Sun. "It takes a different breed and there's real competition for these people ... and once you have them there, you want to keep them because there's a learning curve there that is unique to each hospital."

This growth reflects national trends, with healthcare CEOs seeing an 0.7 percent pay bump last year even as CEO and CFO salaries grew slower in other industries, FierceHealthFinance previously reported. Healthcare has the highest median CEO pay of any industry, which experts have worried may hurt consumers.

To learn more:
- read the Lowell Sun article