Executive pay soars to multimillions

Although some healthcare professionals are experiencing salary freezes and reduced operating budgets, some healthcare executives are seeing gains.

Heads of Tennessee hospitals witnessed up to a 24 percent jump in their own compensation, including bonuses and benefits, according to data firm Equilar, Inc., reports The Tennessean. For example, HCA CEO Richard M. Bracken saw a 212 percent increase, totaling $38 million last year. Community Health Systems CEO and Chair Wayne T. Smith earned $21 million, and LifePoint Hospitals CEO and Chair William F. Carpenter III earned $8 million.

Like many health systems across the country, Tennessee health organizations have been shifting away from stock benefits and instead offering compensation tied to performance targets. In addition, other benefits included with compensation are housing, a company car, complimentary airfare and memberships to clubs.

Similarly, six nonprofit hospitals and health systems in Florida reported that their CEOs earned an average of $628,000 in 2009, compared to the Internal Revenue Service's survey of other nonprofit hospitals that averaged $500,000, reports the Florida Times-Union. Classified as nonprofit, these institutions are exempt from taxes. However, the tax exempt status is intended to benefit the community and not executives' pockets, according to the newspaper. The executive pay grade is based on multiple factors, including education, experience level and industry rates.

For more:
- read The Tennessean article
- read The Florida Times-Union article