NYC speciality physicians paid millions

Specialist physicians practicing at some of New York City's hospitals receive millions of dollars a year in compensation, including hefty bonuses that some suggest are incentives to bring more patients through the doors, the New York Post reported.

David Samadi, M.D., a urologist and chief of robotics and minimally invasive surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, earned $7.6 million, the city's top-earning specialist. Andrew Hecht, M.D., head of spinal surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital, earned $6.9 million.

Physicians also routinely earned annual bonuses well into the six figures, with some earning millions. Spinal surgeon Anthony Frempong-Boadu, M.D., was paid a $3.2 million bonus in 2011 by LYU Langone Medical Center. Columbia University Medical Center paid dermatologist David Silvers, M.D., a $2.2 million bonus, bringing his total 2011 compensation to $5.2 million.

Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, despite having a $4 million operational deficit in 2012, was able to pay its head of obstetrics and gynecology a nearly $1 million bonus that year, nearly triple his base salary.

Although some hospital officials say they paid bonuses based on the physician's productivity, others raised concerns that the organizations provide payments based in part on the specialist's ability to bring patients into their hospitals. Earlier this year FierceHealthcare reported that emergency interventional cardiology procedures on uninsured patients at Mount Sinai were actually scheduled ahead of time, in order to obtain Medicaid coverage for the procedures based on the presumption that they are required due to the medical circumstances. Bloomberg News referred to the Mount Sinai as a "heart surgery factory." Mount Sinai also provides significant financial incentives to cardiologists who use its catheterization laboratory for procedures.

Meanwhile, some executives at New York City hospitals have seen their annual pay packages reach into the eight figures.

"Whenever I see compensation data in healthcare, I'm stunned and nauseated," John Santa, M.D., medical director of Consumer Reports Health, told the New York Post. "I'm embarrassed for the profession."

To learn more:
- read the New York Post article