Hospital CEO pay soars as limitation efforts stumble

Healthcare has some of the highest CEO pay growth of any industry and it shows no signs of slowing down.

In Massachusetts, hospital chief executives saw a pay bump throughout the state from 2013 to 2014, with the steepest raise of all going to Brigham and Women’s Hospital President Elizabeth Nabel, M.D., according to the Boston Business Journal.

The newspaper reports that Nabel’s total compensation soared 120 percent to $5.5 million in 2014. To put that in perspective, the publication noted that Gary Gottlieb, M.D., CEO of Brigham and Women's parent company Partners Healthcare, and Nabel’s boss at the time, made $3.1 million. Most of Nabel’s compensation--$3.9 million--wasn’t even base salary, but rather retirement and nontaxable benefits.

Central Ohio hospital chief executives are seeing similarly big paydays, according to Columbus Business First. For example, Dave Blom, chief executive of Columbus’ OhioHealth Corp., led the region in compensation, with his base salary and performance bonuses coming to $2.64 million, with Steven Gabbe, M.D., who served as CEO of Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center January to March 2015, a distant second with $1.57 million.

The exorbitant paychecks for hospital CEOs have raised concerns among some consumer advocates, who say they hurt patients, but efforts to rein them in have had limited success.

In Arizona, a voter referendum will not appear on the ballot in November because it lost the backing of the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), according to the Associated Press. The union abandoned the initiative, which would have capped annual hospital CEO pay at $450,000, to recommit those resources to supporting Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, according to the article.

A similar measure was yanked in California after an arbitrator and a Superior Court judge found it violated an agreement between the California Hospital Association and SEIU-UHW.

- here’s the Boston Business Journal article
- read the Columbus Business First article
- read the AP article via The Washington Times