Steven Brill ranks CEO pay per patient day: 4 things to know

In a recent research endeavor for Axios, lawyer and journalist Steven Brill set out to determine CEO pay per patient day at the nation's biggest hospital systems.

Here are four things to know.

1. Mr. Brill merged American Hospital Directory data about hospital operations, including patient beds and total patient days, with Internal Revenue Service data on what nonprofit hospitals pay their heads. He writes in Axios that he ended up with a list of the reported annual payouts to the CEOs of the 20 largest hospital systems (ranked by number of hospitals in their systems) divided by the annual number of hospital patient days. Ultimately, he was able to make a list of CEO pay per patient day at the nation's largest hospital systems.

2. Patrick Fry, president and CEO of Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health, topped Mr. Brill's list, with $6.88 in earnings per patient day. There were 923,521 patient days at the system, bringing his salary to $6.35 million. Mr. Fry retired at the end of 2015. Sutter spokesperson Karen Garner noted to Mr. Brill that some of Mr. Fry's pay included "one-time payments associated with his retirement," and added, "The use of patient days, alone, is not a solid basis for comparison …. [W]e are working hard to reduce patient days."

3. Following Mr. Fry is William Thompson, president and CEO of St. Louis-based SSM Health, with $6.06 in earnings per patient day, and then Jeffrey Romoff, president and CEO of Pittsburgh-based UPMC, with $4.99 in earnings per patient day. At the bottom of the list is Richard Gilfillan, MD, president and CEO of Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health, with 75 cents in earnings per patient day.

4. Mr. Brill notes that no metric provides a perfect measure for comparing CEO responsibilities. However, he said, "it's a good way to compare the relative scope of responsibilities of each CEO, because it's basically a measure of the number of patients served in each hospital and the extent of that service."

To see the report in Axios, click here.





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