Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS -

SALI­NAS, Calif.— A re­port from the Cal­i­for­nia state au­di­tor, Elaine Howle, de­ter­mined that the Sali­nas Val­ley Me­mo­rial Health­care Sys­tem vi­o­lated the state’s open meet­ings act, and granted com­pen­sa­tion for ex­ec­u­tives in the up­per range of com­pen­sa­tion lev­els while op­er­at­ing with­out a com­pen­sa­tion pol­icy and with limited trans­parency. The au­di­tor’s re­port pointed to the $4.9 mil­lion re­tire­ment and sev­er­ance pack­age paid to for­mer CEO Sam Down­ing as an ex­am­ple of rel­a­tively high com­pen­sa­tion paid by the 269-bed public hospi­tal. The re­port also found weak­nesses in con­trols, in­clud­ing 11 ex­am­ples of the hospi­tal do­ing busi­ness with en­ti­ties in which board mem­bers or ex­ec­u­tives had an eco­nomic in­stance. The au­di­tor rec­om­mends that for­mal com­pen­sa­tion poli­cies be de­vel­oped and op­er­a­tional trans­parency be in­creased. In a writ­ten re­sponse, of­fi­cials for Sali­nas Val­ley said they wel­come and will fol­low the rec­om­men­da­tions of the State Au­dits Bureau, but also out­lined ways in which they dis­agree with its con­clu­sions that they vi­o­lated the open meet­ings act. Both the au­di­tor’s re­port and the hospi­tal noted that no con­cerns were raised re­gard­ing pa­tient care. In Jan­uary, Sali­nas’ chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer and vice pres­i­dent, Dr. David Per­rott, joined the Cal­i­for­nia Hospi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion as se­nior vice pres­i­dent and CMO.

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