Judge denies challenge to measure that would cap LA hospital exec pay


A Los Angeles judge has denied a challenge from the California Hospital Association to a ballot measure that would cap pay of hospital executives.

The Los Angeles measure backed by Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West would cap hospital executive pay at the compensation of the U.S. president, or $450,000 per year. The California Hospital Association filed suit challenging the measure, arguing that the U.S. president earns more when factoring in travel expenses, discretionary funds and residence in the White House. CHA argued the alleged mismatched numbers constitute "calculated untruths" that misled voters who were asked to sign the petition.

The proposed measure would apply to executives, managers and administrators of privately owned hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Los Angeles.  

"The court's decision allows Los Angeles voters to decide where their healthcare dollars should go: To improving patient care or into the pockets of corporate executives," emergency room assistant Gabriel Montoya said in an April 5 union news release. 

The city is working on counting and validating signatures submitted for the proposed measure, SEIU said. 

Pay for Los Angeles hospital executives "is often excessive, unnecessary, and inconsistent with the mission of providing high-quality, affordable medical care for all," the ballot measure states, arguing that executives "can be reasonably compensated without receiving more than the" U.S. president. The California Hospital Association asked the court to block the initiative from appearing on the ballot and expressed disappointment in the recent ruling. 

"Proponents provided misleading information to voters who signed the petition. This measure is all about politics and not sound policy. If it passes it will make it more difficult to recruit qualified leaders to ensure high-quality care at hospitals in the City of Los Angeles," David Simon, a group spokesperson, said in a statement shared with Becker's.

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