Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Salaries at the Hospital -- the President and the Others

Rita Battles became President and CEO of LICH on Monday, September 20, 2004 -- three years ago almost to the day.

For the calendar year of 2004, which is the last year for which salary figures are readily available, Ms. Battles was paid $163,036, plus $8012 in benefits, or a total of $171,048. This covered the 102 days that she served in 2004. If we prorate this figure to arrive at an annual salary rate, we get $613,735 for that year. It is fair to assume that now, three years later, her compensation is higher than that, perhaps, roughly, $700,000 per year.

There is another job title at LICH for which compensation figures are readily obtained, that of Registered Nurse. According to the contract currently in force, RN's at LICH at the lowest level of experience are paid $61,188, and are granted regular increases until they reach the maximum, after 28 years of service, of $89,118. The President of LICH, then, earns between eight and twelve times the salary of the average registered nurse at her hospital.

Compensation figures for physicians are more difficult to ascertain. But the New York area median salary for (employed) family practice physicians is $184,555. For surgeons this figure is $335,751. These are current figures. Based on them, we can estimate that the President of LICH earns about four times the salary of the average family physician, and more than twice as much as the average surgeon at her hospital.

For a complete outsider like myself, it is difficult to compare the background and experience of the President with, say, that of a surgeon. Ms. Battles has had years of distinguished work experience in hospital administration, but her formal education does not seem to have gone beyond that of a master's degree in business administration from Suffolk University in Boston. The formal educational and professional requirements of a surgeon, on the other hand, are much more clearly defined. In addition to graduation from medical school, a surgeon must have served an internship, passed the State Board examination in medicine, and then have spent many years of specialized training leading to certification by his specialty Board.

With all that, LICH, which has 506 beds [not 258, as I had said originally], seems to lag behind certain other area hospitals in executive compensation. Or you might say, since its salaries are more modest, it is ahead of these institutions.

New York and Presbyterian Hospital is perhaps the most noteworthy. In 2004 it had two part-time chief executives, each working about 22 hours per week. The combined salaries of these two (one a physician, the other not), was $6,412,332. This hospital has 2233 beds.

Here are some other examples of presidents' 2004 salaries at New York area hospitals:

New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens (439 beds): $817,867

Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center (565 beds): $ 1,888,553

St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center (845 beds, as of 2003): $1,412,452

SOME WHO WORK FOR LESS

President of the United States -- $400,000, plus $50,000 benefits

Governor of the State of New York -- $179,000

Mayor of the City of New York -- 0

Associate Justice, U. S. Supreme Court -- $164,100

Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene, City of New York (currently Thomas R. Frieden, M.D.,M.P.H) -- $171,038

Chancellor, New York City Schools -- $250,000

President, Fordham University -- 0 (Jesuit priest)
highest paid vice president at Fordham -- $233,250, plus $40,472 in benefits


DATA SOURCES

Non-profit groups are required to file annual reports of their financial dealings, including salaries paid to their top employees (religious groups, unfortunately, are exempt from this requirement). These reports to the IRS on IRS form 990, and, in principle, become public documents. Each group is required to make its report available to any member of the public. In practice it is often difficult to inspect these reports in a timely manner, mainly because the groups have little incentive to make such inspection convenient.

Fortunately now, for the last few years, a great many of these reports are available on line at Guidestar.com. For most of the groups that I looked up for this posting, the last available 990's were for the calendar year of 2004. Readers who wish more up-to-date information should approach the organizations themselves.

The information on the salaries of public officials came from the 2005-06 edition (the latest) of The Green Book, an official publication of the City of New York, and a mine of information on matters of government on all levels -- city, state, and federal.

Average salaries come from another fabulous source of information, the Salary Wizard of salary.com. This site takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it.

The information on the salaries of nurses at LICH was furnished to me by the New York State Nurses Association.

A particularly interesting source of data on New York City public salaries is the City's Civil List. It is thousands of pages long and contains salary information on all city employees. All the other sources I have mentioned so far only have information on top salaries, but the Civil List is exhaustive. Your cop on the beat, if you happen to know his name, can be found there. (Are there still cops who walk beats ? Never mind.)

Finally, I must report an unfortunate gap in what is easily available in this area. The New York City Health and Hospital Corporation (HHC) seems to fall between the cracks. It was created by state legislation, and, while run by a board that is appointed by the Mayor, it is an independent body, at least in some ways. Anyway, I was unable to find the salaries of its top officers anywhere on line. I was told that I am entitled to the information, and that I will, in fact, receive it in good time ... but the good time has not yet arrived. My interest in the HHC stems from the fact that it operates the twenty-odd public city hospitals, and of course it would be interesting to know how its top officers are compensated.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe LICH has approximately 500 beds (516 according to this URL: http://www.wehealny.org/patients/lich_description.html).

Werner Cohn said...

Mea Culpa. LICH has 506 certified beds according to its own website. I am correcting this typo. Thanks for your careful reading. Werner

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