Exec compensation grows at children's hospitals

Adding to scrutiny of hospital CEO pay packages, the public is questioning the rising compensation at free-standing children's hospitals (FCHs).

According to Internal Revenue Service filings, nonprofit FCHs are reporting massive cash surpluses and doling out million-dollar salaries to executives, amid generous community donations and government grants, Health Affairs reported.

Public records show the 10 highest-grossing FCHs saw more than $1.1 billion in combined profits, not to mention $755 million in total grants, gifts and contributions. And they paid highest-earning executives almost $6 million in annual compensation, according to the blog post.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia reported $359 million in profit in 2009 and Texas Children's Hospital posted $275 million, for example. Meanwhile, Children's Hospital CEO raked in $3.4 million that year, while Children's Hospital of Los Angeles gave one of its top executives a record $3.9 million, Health Affairs noted.

It's not only children's hospitals facing such scrutiny. A July report showing not-for-profit hospital CEOs in New Hampshire saw their compensation climb at rates significantly higher than other facility employees in recent years, found that executive compensation levels are not linked to hospital performance.

However, healthcare salary increases appear to be slowing down. Nonprofit integrated health system CEOs received a median 3.2 percent increase to their base salaries this year, down from a 4 percent boost last year, according to a Hay Group CEO compensation study, released last week.

For more:
- here's the Health Affairs blog post
- here's the Hay Group announcement