CEO Bonuses at New York Nonprofit Hospitals Unhealthy?

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November 27, 2011; Source: New York Post | In the context of rapidly rising health care costs and insurance rates, it is natural that the public would be interested in where their money goes—including with respect to what the CEOs of major health institutions make. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s task force on charity salaries will be taking a careful look at some of the recently reported compensation packages of nonprofit hospitals in 2010. According to the New York Post:

  • Dr. Herbert Pardes, the retiring head of New York-Presbyterian Hospital,
  • got $1.7 million in salary, a $1.9 million bonus, and $648,686 as “other” compensation, for a total of $4.3 million. NYPH is the largest hospital in the system, but…
  • Dr. Linda Brady received a total of $4.2 million—$3.2 million in retirement money on top of a $736,481 salary and a $241,090 bonus for running the relatively small Kingsbrook Hospital;
  • Dr. Kenneth Davis, the head of Mount Sinai hospital and medical school, received a $1.2 million bonus in 2010;
  • Michael Dowling, the CEO of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, received $1 million;
  • Louis Shapiro, president of the Hospital for Special Surgery, received a $1.5 million-bonus on top of a $992,215 salary; and
  • Steven Safyer of the Montefiore Medical Center was paid $1.4 million plus a $359,845 bonus, and the hospital deposited $2.2 million into Safyer’s retirement fund.

Judy Wessler, head of the New York Commission on Public Health Systems, called the bonuses “inappropriate,” but a spokesman for the Greater New York Hospital Association defended the packages, saying, “Hospital CEO compensation reflects their myriad responsibilities, the complexity of running a medical center, and the national market for their talents.” At some point it is worth asking what the “nonprofit difference” is.—Ruth McCambridge