Million-dollar executive pay may cost hospitals tax breaks

Some of Washington state's nonprofit hospitals are paying executives so much that the hospitals may no longer qualify for reduced taxes, KUOW reports.

To receive millions of dollars in business tax breaks to help reduce the cost of healthcare, the nonprofits have to comply with state limits on executive compensation. That means such pay has to be in proportion to what public sector employees make in similar jobs, notes KUOW.

However, 15 hospital executives earned $1 million or more in 2009, including 14 at nonprofit hospitals and one at a government hospital. The CEOs at Multicare, Providence, Virginia Mason and Valley Medical each raked in more than $2 million.

Department of Revenue spokesman Mike Gowrylow said the agency was unaware of the million-dollar pay packages and that it needs to examine whether these nonprofit hospital are paying their executives too much.

In response to KUOW's investigation, State senator Karen Keiser introduced a bill that would require nonprofit hospitals to disclose top executive pay and provide proof that salaries are in line with similar public sector jobs.

For more:
- check out the KUOW News piece