Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hospital Royalty

This article from the Times did not surprise me in the least. In this era of exponentially increasing health care costs, to an extent that the very solvency of our nation could hang in the balance, we have identified that one sacrosanct budget item that will not go under the knife--- hospital CEO salaries.
At Bronx-Lebanon, a hospital that exists only by the grace and taxed fortunes of the people of New York State, the chief executive was paid $4.8 million in 2007 and $3.6 million in 2008, records show. At NewYork-Presbyterian, a hospital system that receives nearly half a billion dollars annually in public money, the chief executive was paid $9.8 million in 2007 and $2.8 million in 2008.

Is anyone surprised? I know, it's so cliched to begrudge someone what the market will bear to pay them. I'm sure there are manifold reasons for a hospital CEO to pull down 7 figures, even at "non-profit" hospitals. But when you have states chopping Medicaid left and right, when Congress faces an imminent debate on the inevitability of entitlement cuts (i.e. Medicare) in order to achieve some semblance of fiscal sanity, is it altogether justifiable for appointed leaders of non-profits to be so generously compensated?

We live in an age that deifies the famous and powerful. No one blinks an eye when Kendrick Perkins signs a $36 million extension. Tom Cruise's $20 million/per picture demand is met with a collective yawn. Sarah Palin commands 100 grand speaking fees. And now celebrity culture has infected the business world. Wall St. collapses and yet, within a year, all time-high bonuses are handed out to the very same idiots who contributed to the financial catastrophe. We expect our leaders, our winners if you will, to be obscenely compensated. They deserve it. This is the American Dream. This kingly submission to the "winners" in the capitalist game is what ultimately holds the entire house of cards together.


drbculp said...

Not at all surprised. And I winder, what did these hospitals' top grossing physicians make? Likely far far less.

And bow many charity patients were turned down? So frustrating,

Anonymous said...

The CEO of Goldman Sachs Llyod Blankfein said "he's doing God's work." Think of him of the CEO version of Dr. Paul Farmer doing mission work in Haiti. Buckeye when you get a chance please read None Dare Call it Conspiracy by Gary Allen. It's a short read. I would love to hear your erudite thoughts.

Yitz said...

You said it yourself, they get paid what the market will bear.
Besides, going from 9.8 to 2.8 is a huge cut, even if 2.8 is still a lot.