Poll: Healthcare execs think they're underpaid

A majority of healthcare executives do not believe they're receiving enough compensation, according to an informal poll conducted at the American College of Healthcare Executives annual meeting in Chicago earlier this week. The poll took place during a session entitled "Executive Compensation in an Era of Declining Reimbursement," and allowed audience participants to answer questions electronically.

According to the poll of approximately 35 audience members--mostly high-ranking executives at hospitals or mid-level officers in the military--51 percent said they were not being paid enough, while 46 percent said they were being paid just right. The survey did not have a margin of error and did not separate military or civilian responses.

F. Kenneth Ackerman, the session's primary presenter and chairman of Integrated Healthcare Strategies, a Minneapolis-based firm that analyzes executive compensation, observed that 80 percent of the public believed healthcare executives were overpaid.

Despite the focus and concerns regarding executive compensation, only 52 percent of respondents said their boards focused on total compensation packages at all times. Twenty-two percent usually focused on total compensation, while 26 percent only focused on it "sometimes," according to the results.