Connecticut Hospital Salaries Show 18 Executives Making More Than $1 Million

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 Last year, 18 executives at 11 Connecticut hospitals were compensated more than $1 million, according to a database released annually by the state Office of Health Care Access.

Hartford Hospital and Yale-New Haven Hospital each had four executives whose compensation exceeded $1 million, more than any other Connecticut hospital. Compensation includes fringe benefits such as retirement and health care benefits.

Each year for more than two decades, hospitals have been required to submit to the state compensation figures for the top 10 employees at each hospital. The list, available here, was released earlier this month, offering a look at salaries and the value of fringe benefits for hospital executives. The database only shows compensation by title, not by the person’s name.

While the top-paid employee at any company typically might be the chief executive or president, that is not the case at a number of hospitals. The “fringe benefits” category can include the value of retirement at the end of a person’s career.

For example, the top paid Hartford Hospital employee last year was former Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer Neil Yeston, who received $3.35 million, of which $575,733 was salary and $2.78 million was in fringe benefits. Yeston was the second-highest paid hospital executive in Connecticut.

While declining to discuss specifics, large fringe-benefits packages typically represent the value of retirement plans and other benefits accrued over years, which is paid at a certain age, after a certain number of years of service or when a person stops working at the hospital, said Hartford Hospital spokeswoman Rebecca Stewart. For privacy reasons, Stewart declined to confirm that the chief academic officer did retire or was about to retire. Fringe benefits include any non-wage payment or benefit, including retirement pay, holiday pay, vacation pay, company funded life insurance, health insurance and unemployment benefits, she said.

“Executive compensation is market driven, data driven and subject to rigorous board oversight and government regulation,” Stewart said in a prepared statement. “These compensation levels are based on comparable independent, market data and careful analysis. In order to attract executive leadership that can improve patient care services in the face of continually diminishing resources, compensation must be competitive and set at levels that will attract the best leaders.”

The former president and CEO of William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich had the greatest compensation last year, $3,357,690, of which more than $3 million was in fringe benefits. Thomas Pipicelli retired as president of Backus Corp. on June 30, 2012.

Much of Pipicelli’s compensation is the value of his pension accrued over 18 years, said Backus Hospital spokesman Shawn Mawhiney.

At Yale-New Haven Hospital, the top-paid executive is President and CEO Marna P. Borgstrom, who was compensated $2.8 million, of which $2.15 million was salary. Borgstrom has been CEO since 2005 and started working at Yale-New Haven in 1979. In addition to overseeing the hospital, Borgstrom is the chief executive of Yale-New Haven Health System, a hospital network of about 18,000 employees and an operating budget of about $3 billion, said hospital spokesman Vin Petrini.

Hospitals with the lowest-paid chief executive or president were New Milford and Rockville. At New Milford Hospital, the president was compensated $195,774, of which $182,847 was salary. At Rockville General Hospital, the CEO was compensated $240,340, of which $224,257 was salary.

Hospitals, like all organizations, need the right leaders to succeed, said Michele Sharp, director of communications for the Connecticut Hospital Association, a trade group. Compensation is carefully set by boards that include members of the community, she said.

“Hospital CEOs are responsible for the operation and performance of complex, dynamic organizations, with extensive physical plant operations, highly educated and skilled staff, and sophisticated, constantly advancing technological equipment and services,” Sharp said. “They operate in a highly regulated environment, complying with demanding standards related to quality and patient safety measures, financial performance, medical staff relations, patient satisfaction measures, institutional stability and growth, development, community relations, and community health. It is a demanding and complex job with an extreme amount of responsibility.”

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by Politico.com, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (businessjournalism.org, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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8 thoughts on “Connecticut Hospital Salaries Show 18 Executives Making More Than $1 Million

  1. Joan Wells

    And they say “don’t tax the rich” shame on this government, the rich can pay but again the “middle class’ will be stuck with all kinds of tax increases just to pay these salaries of those in the article and people like them!!!

  2. Michael Trueman

    Thank you for an insightful article. Other hospital staff (Nurses, techs etc) received an average 3% raise last year while the inflation rate in Connecticut was 2.73%. Hospital exec raises ranged from 10 to 29%. The hospital I-990 reports for 2007 show there were 32 CEOs,VPs, and Directors earning $12,760,624 (combined salaries,benefits packages). In 2010 these increased to 66 officers earning $34,106,034. Meanwhile they are asking us to cut staffing and have staff leave early in light of the proposed cuts in CT Medicaid reimbursements. Incidentally Hartford Healthcare, the umbrella organization, has moved into a suite of offices in downtown Hartford. No information is available on what that is costing.
    As we move into socialized medicine the larger issue is whether these “non-profits” can actually still be run as quasi-corporations, with huge salaries going to a very few.

  3. Stunned

    All this money is spent before a penny is spent on actual medical care, any wonder why medical costs are outrageous.

  4. plumbers

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and
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  5. why me

    The salaries and benefits packages of ALL people working in the State of Connecticut should be available to the public using the FOI Act. And I mean ALL working people. Otherwise it is no one’s business what the other person makes. I agree that many salaries and benefits are outrages but how many of the critics of them would turn them down if THEY were in the position to be the recipient of these packages? How about N-O-N-E of them.

    1. Michael Trueman

      In response to ‘why me’s’ post. The best comment I have heard so far on the cost of socialized medicine came from a commentator on a PBS program. His statement was that “we are all going to have to give a little”.

      Currently staff (nurses,technologists, technicians, clerical, support services) at Hartford Hospital are giving a lot. Talk to anyone there about what happened to their accrued vacation time – it was withheld and staff was compensated at only 50 cents on the dollar.
      So do the math and ask yourself if you want to see healthcare executives go the same path as financial investment people. Do you think the quality of patient care will improve?

  6. jon smith

    must be nice to charge us more to pay these guys for fringe benifites since most of use wont have anything retirement and medicar or social security use the money and hire more people or pay others makeing nothing a lil more. how much can one CEO spent in a lifetime??

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