Yes, you can use the company jet: A look at 2019 compensation for publicly traded health system CEOs

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CEOs of publicly traded health systems were offered perks such as personal use of aircraft, bonuses, generous 401(k) matches and insurance benefits. They also had expenses like Wi-Fi, tax preparation and new vehicles taken care of. (Getty Images)

Health system CEOs did quite alright in 2019, racking up compensation in the millions of dollars when perks like bonuses, stock awards, insurance benefits, personal use of company aircraft and country club membership are thrown in the mix.

These compensation details, from Securities and Exchange Commission filings, of course don't take into account the financial havoc now being wreaked on health systems and other businesses across the country by the COVID-19 pandemic. But they instead offer a peek inside how these top execs were being rewarded based on the health of the healthcare system mere months before the virus began its destructive spread. 

Take a look below to see what their compensation packages looked like in 2019.


Wayne Smith (CHS)

Wayne Smith: Community Health Systems

2019 compensation: $8,053,827

Wayne Smith, 74, became CEO of Community Health Systems in 1997. In 2001, he was named chairman of the board. The CEO to median employee pay ratio is 151:1. 

Smith's base salary was $1.6 million in 2019, and he received nearly $1.4 million in restricted stock awards and option awards. He received $3.8 million through the company's non-equity incentive plan, $1.1 million in the change in his pension value and non-qualified deferred compensation. Community Health Systems also picked up the tab for $3,780 toward his long-term disability premiums, $8,400 toward his 401(k) plan match, $55,571 in life insurance premiums and $8,029 in membership dues. 

He was also allowed to use the aircraft for personal travel to the tune of $84,449 last year.


Sam Hazen (HCA)

Sam Hazen: HCA Healthcare

2019 compensation: $26,788,251

Samuel Hazen, 59, took the helm of Nashville, Tennessee-based health system HCA in January 2019. He previously served as president and chief operating officer since November 2016. He joined the board in 2018. He's been with the company for 37 years. The CEO to median employee pay ratio is 478:1.

Hazen's base salary was $1.425 million, and he received about $11.5 million in stock awards and stock appreciation rights and $4 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation. He also received $19,000 in HCA 401(k) matching contributions and $107,379 in dividend and end equivalent payments on vested 2017 PSUs.

He is also permitted to use the company jet for personal trips and bring his spouse along on business trips if space is available. It does not appear he took advantage of the perk last year.


Ron Rittenmeyer
(Tenet) 

Ron Rittenmeyer: Tenet Healthcare

2019 Compensation: $24,288,660

Ron Rittenmeyer, 72, was named executive chairman of Tenet in August 2017 and CEO in October 2017. The CEO to median employee pay ratio 452:1.

Rittenmeyer's based salary was $1.2 million, and he received a $3.5 million bonus last year. He received about $16 million in stock awards and $3.2 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation.  

He is allowed to use the company jet for 75 hours a year of personal travel without being required to reimburse for that use. He took advantage of the perk worth about 17 hours totaling $49,777. He also has a car and personal security driver that he primarily uses for commuting and local business travel which was valued at around $15,000. He also received $300,000 in company contributions toward an ERA.


Alan Miller (UHS)

Alan Miller: Universal Health Services

2019 compensation: $24,473,240

Alan Miller, 82, founded UHS in 1979 and serves as both CEO and chairman. The CEO to median employee pay ratio is 629:1.

Miller made a base salary of $1.7 million and received a $1 million bonus. He also received about $1 million in stock awards and nearly $18 million in option awards. He received about $1.6 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation and about $44,000 from a change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation. 

Other perks received by Miller included $25,000 for professional tax services, $10,773 for country club dues, $9,330 for accounting services, $2,906 for maintenance on his personal residence, $20,604 for the lease value, fuel and maintenance charges incurred for his vehicle and a $335 wireless stipend. They also include $1.1 million for premium payments made in connection with a split-dollar-life insurance agreement and $9,721 in 2019 for premiums paid in connection with long-term disability coverage.

He is allowed the use of a private plane for personal purposes for up to 60 hours per year—but it does not appear he took advantage last year. 

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