CEO pay growth outstrips other positions

Chief executive base pay continues to grow faster than other C-suite positions, according to the 2014 Hay Group Healthcare Compensation Study.

Hay Group collected results from 128 integrated healthcare systems and subsystems and nearly 100 independent hospitals for the study.

The survey found:

  • Median base salaries rose 2.4 percent for CEOs, 2.1 percent for chief operating officers and 1.5 percent for chief nursing officers from 2013 to 2014
  • Median base salaries for chief financial officers fell 0.2 percent from 2013 to 2014 and flatlined for chief medical officers
  • Incumbent base salary increases fell slightly in 2013-2014 in the integrated healthcare nonprofit sector, with an increase of 2.5 percent as compared to the 2.8 percent 2012-2013 increase. CEO increases rose, however, up an average of 5 percent in 2014 compared to 4 percent in 2013.
  • Base salaries for non-system hospital CEOs rose 4.3 percent, the highest across job categories and a 1.3-point increase from 2013
  • Non-system hospital senior executives' base salaries grew 3 percent, the same as in 2013

Hospital and insurance executive base pay eclipses physician pay by a substantial margin, according to a May analysis, even though physicians are the most highly-trained professionals in the healthcare sector, FierceHealthFinance previously reported. The difference is even more dramatic when non-salary compensation is factored in. For example, Ronald J. Del Mauro, former president of Barnabas Health in New Jersey, earned a salary of $28,000 but had a total compensation package of $21.7 million in 2012, the year he retired.

Defenders of high salaries for chief executives, however, argue that the high numbers are reflective of job performance and a healthy stock market, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

"If you look at CEO pay compared to the average pay of people in the top 0.1 percent, it's about where it was 20 years ago--in line with that of lawyers and private-company executives, and less than hedge-fund managers," Steven Neil Kaplan, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, told Business Insider.

To learn more:
- read the survey results (.pdf, registration required)