Do Healthcare CEOs Deserve More Money Than Doctors?

Leigh Page


July 02, 2014

In This Article

What Else Can Be Done?

Dr. Joynt, the author of the JAMA Internal Medicine study, thinks the ongoing shift to paying hospitals for quality, such as value-based purchasing and the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program, will force boards to tie CEOs' bonuses to quality. Dr. Joynt conceded that her plan wouldn't slow CEO income growth, but it could redirect CEOs to work toward more valuable goals that would benefit the organization.

According to a 2013 study,[12] three quarters of hospitals already pay their CEOs bonuses tied to incentives added on to their base pay, although only a small portion is generally linked to quality. In California, for instance, just 20% of the Sutter Health CEO's bonus is based on quality, with the remainder apportioned to categories that include profits, patient satisfaction, employee satisfaction, community benefit, and ability to stay within budget.

Dr. Wollschlaeger, on the other hand, hopes that the growth of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) will redirect the hospital's surplus earnings, in the form of shared savings, from the pockets of administrators and into the hands of physicians. "Right now, we're being asked to share costs right and left, and we're not getting anything for it," he said. "ACOs offer an opportunity for us physicians to be part of the gain."


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