California hospital CEO takes voluntary pay cut

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Matthew Matthiessen, CEO of John C. Fremont Healthcare District in Mariposa, Calif., took a salary reduction this year after requesting that the board of directors continue a pay cut that he had started to take shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, the hospital announced in a news release.

Mr. Matthiessen declined a merit increase but requested the continuation of the salary reduction during the board's annual evaluation of him on Nov. 17.

Last year, he took a voluntary 20 percent pay cut to help offset the financial fallout from the pandemic, the hospital said. He took a 10 percent cut this year.

The hospital said Mr. Matthiessen requested that his salary reduction be made official rather than leaving it as voluntary. However, the board expressed some concern.

"The five-member board was concerned that his salary was below market for the state of California, because finding a replacement would be a challenge at that level," the hospital said in a news release. "For instance, the new CEO for Northern Inyo Healthcare District [in Bishop, Calif.] started her job at a base salary of $360,000 three and a half weeks ago."

The board discussed the salary range for CEOs of California hospitals with less than 100 beds and rural hospitals, concluding that Mr. Matthiessen's salary is below the statewide 10th percentile.

No matter how "you look at it, Matthiessen's salary is below the statewide 10th percentile," Candy O'Donel-Browne-Browne, board chair, said in a news release. 

She added, "At his request, the board unanimously decided that his salary will be reduced to $225,000, the same amount the district CEO was paid five years ago." She went on to say, "He has the board's full support."

The John C. Fremont Healthcare District hospital is a 34-bed facility, according to its website. Mr. Matthiessen has served as the hospital CEO since 2016. Before that, he served as CFO.

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