Indiana hospitals want to hide salary data at public hospitals

At a time when the industry and consumers push for transparency in healthcare finances, the Indiana Hospital Association (IHA) wants to go in the other direction regarding some forms of compensation, the Indianapolis Star reported.

The lobby representing the state's hospitals wants to remove physician compensation data from a state database that lists pay for public employees, according to the Star. Such doctors are on staff at county-operated hospitals.

IHA officials say the practice puts public hospitals at a competitive disadvantage because it provides data to privately-operated hospitals, which are not required to disclose such salaries. The IHA also contends that county-operated hospitals may not necessarily be compelled under state law to provide such data because they receive their own revenue streams and do not receive funding directly from the state. The Indiana Board of Accounts can withhold funding if a particular government unit does not disclose its compensation data.

"We consider this an interpretation, a poor interpretation, of what a county hospital is," IHA Vice President Spence Grover told the Star. "It's been a thorn for some of the county hospitals for some time."

Nevertheless, the Star reported that about half of the county-operated hospitals in Indiana have not disclosed any compensation data to the Board of Accounts. And Grover did not disclose any physician recruitment issues that hospitals faced as a result of the publication of such data.

Most not-for-profit hospitals disclose the salaries of their highest-paid employees, including physicians, on their 990 tax forms that they must file with the Internal Revenue Service. However, those facilities operated by larger healthcare systems often do not disclose any compensation data at the hospital level at all.

In California, the state controller's website lists compensation at hospitals operated by the University of California and at the county level, but the employees are not listed by name. In Massachusetts, healthcare labor unions push for more disclosure of executive pay at hospitals operating within the Bay State.

To learn more:
- read the Indianapolis Star article
- here's the Indiana state salaries database
- check out the California state salaries website