Stay in a hospital, pay the CEO $56 a night, highlighting Steven Brill's short sighted attempt to correlate CEO compensation to patient days is both uninformed and unreliable. CEO compensation for tax exempt hospital system executives is determined by individuals with no conflict of interest and who are charged with protecting the best interest of the hospital system and the community it serves.Moreover, Brill's methodology of tying compensation to inpatient volume utterly fails to recognize that hospital systems are much more than the sum of their inpatient beds. Nationally outpatient volume is increasing more rapidly thanks to advances in medicine and technology that reduce the need for an inpatient stay. And hospital systems are complex institutions that typically include other skilled care facilities as well as community outposts to provide more convenient access to care in their communities. The unique challenges hospital and health system CEOs face and the complexity of their jobs and institutions should be reflected in their compensation. Recruiting, retaining and rewarding the most able leaders available is part of the hospital's obligation to the public it serves.
In the article I readily acknowledged that patient days is not anything close to a perfect measure of a hospital CEO's duties, but wrote that it presented a good relative measure. And nowhere in his letter does Mr. Pollack attempt to explain why, using that measure, the CEO's of Greenwich and Cedars earn so much more than the CEO's of Mayo or the Cleveland Clinic