State questions spike in Nuvance Health CEO's compensation

Nuvance Health reported a net loss of over $130 million last fiscal year while President and CEO John Murphy, MD, took home $12.8 million in fringe benefits, the News-Times reported Oct. 21.

The seven-hospital system based between Connecticut and New York grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, losing $300 million in patient revenue in 2020 largely because of the downturn in patients. Outpatient emergency room volume at Danbury (Conn.) Hospital decreased by 20 percent, according to reports made to the state. 

Dr. Murphy earned more than $12.8 million in fringe benefits, significantly more than in 2019, when he earned $82,600. In 2020, he earned 426 percent more than his $2.66 million total compensation in 2019. The increase in fringe benefits was due to a one-time pension payment issued by Western Connecticut Health Network — one of the systems that merged in 2019 to create Nuvance — in 2020.

The Connecticut Office of Health Strategy questioned why the fringe benefits appeared high as a percentage of Dr. Murphy's total income, as well as for the CFO and a staff physician. The benefits of these employees amounted to over 50 percent of their total salary. The health system said in a document filed Aug. 26 that the benefits were paid "under the terms of the supplemental defined benefit retirement plans."

"Hospital CEOs have a singularly unique role, responsible for organizations that are complex and dynamic, highly regulated, resource intensive, and that provide essential community services," Jill McDonald Halsey, spokesperson with the Connecticut Hospital Association, told the News-Times.

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