Hospital Chiefs Earn Big Bucks For 'Glitzier' Medicine

A JAMA Internal Medicine study found that quality of patient care at a facility is less likely to be reflected in the CEO's pay than other factors.

Kaiser Health News: Pay For Hospital CEOs Linked More To Technology, Patient Satisfaction Than Quality, Study Finds
What do hospital boards value in a chief executive? A new study of CEO pay at nonprofit hospitals finds that executives at institutions that have a lot of fancy medical technology and high patient satisfaction are paid more than their peers. But running a hospital that scores well on keeping more patients alive or providing extensive charity care does not translate into a compensation bump (Rau, 10/14).

The Associated Press: Hospital CEO Pay, Patient Outcomes Not In Sync
CEOs were paid more at hospitals that got high patient satisfaction scores; used more high-tech equipment including advanced imaging machines; had more beds and were located in large urban areas. But pay wasn't reflected in 30-day outcomes for patients with heart attacks, heart failure, or pneumonia in 2008, including deaths and readmissions. Those are among publicly reported outcome measures used by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and others (Tanner, 10/15).

Reuters: Hospital CEO Pay Not Tied To Quality Of Study
"I was hoping I'd see even some modest relationship with quality performance," said Dr. Ashish Jha. "I think we were a little disappointed." Jha worked on the study at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. He and his colleagues combined data from tax returns, hospital surveys and performance and cost reports (Pittman, 10/14).

Bloomberg: U.S. Nonprofit Hospital CEO Annual Pay Averages $600,000
Heads of U.S. nonprofit hospitals earn an average of almost $600,000 a year, compensation that isn’t tied to quality measures such as mortality rates, a Harvard University study found. The chief executive officers paid the most oversee larger, urban hospitals that are usually teaching institutions and have a median salary of more than $1.66 million, according to research published today in JAMA Internal Medicine (Ostrow, 10/14).

Medpage Today: Hospital CEO Pay Not Tied To Quality
Not surprisingly, executive pay was higher for those heading up larger hospitals ... at teaching hospitals ... and in urban settings. Shepherding a hospital in a small rural town, for instance, was worth $195,553 less than being responsible for an urban facility (Pittman, 10/14).

Modern Healthcare: Hospitals With Expensive Tech, High Patient Satisfaction Have Highest-Paid CEOs
In an accompanying commentary that appears in the same issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Dr. Warren Browner, CEO of California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, wrote he wasn't surprised by the study's findings that “bigger, glitzier, more prestigious hospitals,” paid more compared to other facilities. However, Browner took issue with some of the study's findings. He wrote that researchers leapt to conclusions about causality without considering the full range of variables (Selvam, 10/14).

Earlier, related KHN story: Hospital CEO Bonuses Reward Volume And Growth (Hancock, 6/16)

 

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