We just saw examples of non-profit hospital CEOs making over $1 million to over $6 million in total compensation. That would imply that non-profit CEOs may make from three times to over thirty times the total compensation of a surgeon, and from over five times to over thirty-five times the compensation of a general internist. (And the ratio for such outliers as Mr Del Mauro above would be even higher.)
So is a hospital CEO thirty times more brilliant than a general internist?
That suggests also that we go back to another version of the brilliance argument found in one article above. In the NJBiz article, the NJ Hospital Association President said, about CEOs, not physicians,
They are literally on call 24/7, 365 days a year and they are running an institution where lives are at stake.
They may be on call in a sense, but they are never on first call. Their decisions may ultimately affect lives, and perhaps put lives at risk. But they never have to make a decision about a patient that could literally cost that patient his or her life. And they almost never have to be accountable for what happens to individual patients.
It is easy to argue that physicians’ responsibilities for life and death decisions are much more direct. Explain, then, those pay ratios again….
So is executive compensation in hospitals, or other parts of the health care system, based on executives’ brilliance. Or is it based on their ability to be rentiers, rent-seekers, who can control the choke points of money flow, and make sure they get more than their share before what is left can go to real health care?
Hmmm, I wonder….