Hospital salaries match those of similar jobs | November 16, 2007 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

Opinion - November 16, 2007

Hospital salaries match those of similar jobs

All pay increases at El Camino based on study of outside data

by Wes Alles

At our October meeting, the El Camino Hospital board of directors approved salary increases for the executive team. Before doing so, the board established an executive compensation philosophy and hired a highly respected national consulting firm to provide current data that would assure both the board and the community that the salaries and benefits are reasonable.

The consultant compared executive compensation at El Camino to that of other hospitals of similar size, revenue and organizational structure.

The salary increases approved by the board ranged from 2.2 percent to 11 percent, with an average of around 6 percent. Those executives receiving the larger increases did so because their compensation was below the market as determined by the compensation consultant. The board approved these increases only after sufficient review of the data and with assurance by the consulting firm that the salaries were reasonable and within the market range.

The board takes its fiduciary responsibility, commitment to transparency and public accountability very seriously. We have held a series of meetings over the last couple of years to give the public an opportunity to learn more about our process for determining compensation, to meet our compensation consultants and to provide input into the process. This has provided the public with access and input that is unprecedented for a hospital.

In addition, the public was invited to participate in the discussion about executive compensation during a study session. The public also was invited to offer comment during the October board meeting prior to approval of the executive compensation.

All El Camino employees have their compensation reviewed annually to ensure that they are paid wages and benefits comparable to employees at peer hospitals doing similar work. This practice helps to ensure a high quality and stable workforce.

We have also released the salaries of approximately 2,300 of our staff to the press.

As has been documented many times, El Camino is recognized by independent, third party evaluators as a hospital that provides truly outstanding patient care. This recognition includes our Nursing Magnet status, Healthgrades designation as the best hospital in the state for overall heart care, the Commonwealth Fund's designation of El Camino as one of the four best hospitals in the United States and the American Hospital Association's Quest for Quality Prize naming El Camino one of the top five hospitals in the country.

In addition, the hospital's financial performance has been solid for many years. We are now about 18 months away from the opening of our new hospital. El Camino will be one of the few hospitals in the entire state to meet the deadline for the new seismic requirements, and our financial outlook remains strong.

The board takes its fiduciary responsibility quite seriously. As one member of the board, I find Mr. Krepick's editorial in last week's Voice ("Hospital overpaying its top executives") to be offensive. It is offensive to the board, offensive to the consultants, and offensive to the community in that it paints an inaccurate picture of the matter.

I believe that El Camino Hospital pays its executives at an appropriate level. In addition, the consulting firm is preparing a letter that attests to this fact. This letter makes a strong statement to the IRS and our community that our compensation program is both reasonable and within market range.

Wes Alles is a member of the El Camino Hospital board of directors and chairman of its compensation committee.


Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2007 at 7:19 am

Consultants are similar to prostitutes. You pay them enough money, and they'll say and do anything. They'll even say they love you! Over at El Camino Hospital, the consultants (prostitutes) say the Board is doing a great job. Take their opinion for what it's really worth. If I paid them a dollar more than the El Camino Hospital Board, they would say the exact opposite if I asked them to!

Posted by Jan, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 17, 2007 at 12:41 pm

As a patient and taxpayer in the El Camino Hospital District, I find the editorial by Board Member Wes Alles to be quite offensive. The Board has shown many times that they do not take their fiduciary responsibilities seriously. Certainly Mr. Alles can't have forgotten already the lack of fiduciary responsibility shown by Board Member Ed Bough, MD with his competing heart scanner. How could Mr. Alles forget the actions of former CEO Lee Domanico who seemed to pick untested and unreliable products for the hospital based on whether those same companies gave him a position on their board payable with stock options? The past criminal activity of Board Member Mark O'Connor goes beyond the pale - multiple break ins at a physician's home and vandalizing and stealing his property. Offensive? You betcha!

Posted by Annoyed, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 17, 2007 at 9:00 pm

The violin needs a tune-up. Please change your song already because this melody is quite old and overplayed.