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Time magazine lists jaw-dropping pay for “nonprofit” hospital CEOs

Image: Time Magazine + Scrubs

Late last week, Time magazine issued a special report entitled “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us.” In the issue, reporters take an unflinching look at the skyrocketing cost of medical care for the those without insurance (or those with “bad” insurance) and contrast it with the bloated paychecks for many higher-ups in the medical worlds.

Sean Recchi, a 42-year-old with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, had recently started his own business with his wife when he was diagnosed. Not able to afford comprehensive coverage ($469 a month, or about 20% of their income), he had settled on a policy that covers $2,000 per day of hospital costs. The total cost, in advance, for Sean’s treatment plan and initial doses of chemotherapy? $83,900. Charges for blood and lab tests were more than $15,000. The really depressing part? With something like Medicare, they would have cost a few hundred dollars.

When the reporter wrote to the hospital Recchi was treated at inquiring about the high costs, he got this response: “The issues related to health care finance are complex for patients, health care providers, payers and government entities alike…MD Anderson’s clinical billing and collection practices are similar to those of other major hospitals and academic medical centers.”

The article points out that the hospital, officially a nonprofit unit of the University of Texas, MD Anderson, earned $531 million in 2010. “That’s a profit margin of 26% on revenue of $2.05 billion…an astounding result for such a service-intensive enterprise. The president of MD Anderson is paid like someone running a prosperous business. Ronald DePinho’s total compensation last year was $1,845,000.”

Image: Time magazine

We all know that nurses don’t do what they do for the money. But is this fair? What would YOU charge for the work that you do every day? We already know the answer — nothing, if it were at an (unfair) cost to your patients.

Nurses react to the jaw-dropping salaries:

Yeah, patients will pay $10+ for a ticket to get into a movie and another $10 to $15 for concessions; they’ll pay to have smartphones, cable TV and satellite radio. But God help us to ask them to pay for medical care! Society thinks that Hollywood and sports figures are worth millions, but not doctors and nurses! Talk about messed up!
Gayle Miller Zajeski

Absolutely ridiculous. While the CEOs are sitting high and mighty with their fat wallets, there are nurses and nurse aides who have to fight for a $2,000 reimbursement check for workers’ comp injuries and for school costs…silly to think of hospitals as nonprofit anymore.
Julie Melton

That’s called “legitimized greed.” What sucks is that some of them aren’t even in the healthcare field.
Renato Tiamzon

I’m not saying that paying a hospital CEO millions of dollars while paying nurses comparatively next to nothing is acceptable, but truthfully, that type of thing is not uncommon. Hospitals need to be able to offer people with “CEO experience” a competitive salary in order to have their administrative capabilities/experiences on hand. A nonprofit business is still a business, after all. Truthfully, when you really look at it, hospital CEOs are being paid less than the average paid to CEOs across industries nationwide. According to the Associated Press, in 2011, CEOs were paid an average of $9.6 million/year (not including additional benefits like additional millions of dollars in stock options, etc.). Therefore, as unfair as it is that hospital CEOs are being paid so much when they (at least in our eyes) do so little, and nurses are being paid so little when they do so much, it’s a necessary “evil” that must be maintained if we want to keep our hospitals open and operational.
Christine Kang

It just goes to show that our society values profit over nurses. Disgusting!
Yessenia Sanciangco

This is disgusting to me! In the Pittsburgh area, there is no such thing as competitive wages. Because UPMC and West Penn own everything, they have total control over a nurse’s wage. The nurses in this area do not get paid well. I made more an hour five years ago working 2.5 hours away in Ohio than I do today here in Pittsburgh. I was not agency or a traveler. Nurses are the heart and soul of the hospitals. We put our heart and soul into taking care of our patients. We deal with the politics from management, the rising costs of our own healthcare coverage. We work long hours, weekends and holidays. We sacrifice our families to take care of others. We beat up our bodies, we stress and cry with our patients and families. Yet we are regularly expected to do more, with less help. Are we compensated enough for what we do? I don’t think so. Does this change how we do our jobs? Of course not. We are caregivers and patient advocates. It amazes me that someone who sits in an office, attends meetings and makes decisions that affect how I can do my job feels justified to make that outrageous amount of money. It’s wrong!
Jennifer Pierson Murphy

In light of this information, how much should nurses make?

About $10,000 an hour.
Debbie Brooks

A LOT more than I do.
Nila Ritchie Raclawski

I would be soooo happy just to see something out of that…but better yet…the SIX MILLION LOOKS DARN GOOD, TOO!
Cheryl Hicks

What can nurses do to remedy the poor state of economics of the healthcare industry? How can nurses get their voices heard?

Source: Time magazine


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4 Responses to Time magazine lists jaw-dropping pay for “nonprofit” hospital CEOs

  1. Smithteamracing RN

    We need to get these facts out to the public, publish these facts about local hospitals too. And don’t forget the insurance companies….they are growing and growing and consume a lot of health care dollars—without providing ANY patient care.

  2. Pingback: Time Magazine . . . and jaw-dropping pay for non-profit hospital CEOs | Providence Good Neighbors

  3. ihsIntegrity

    There needs to be a law that prevents “non-profit” hospitals from laying-off staff without legislation that examines CEO and “senior leadership” salaries prior to such a drastic step. After all, aren’t non-profits supposed to serve the surrrounding community? Part of there charter must be to provide employment ??

  4. FranWeber

    This is why we need a global, single payer system like in the U.K. or Canada. I am not surprised by this abuse in the State of Texas. They are the second wealthiest state and third from the bottom in quality healthcare delivery. They are also top in heart transplantation. It seems the rich have a death grip on everything that goes on in Texas. Of course, rich people never lose their private health insurance as they will always have the premiums to pay it. The deck is stacked against the average Texan.