Story on Mission Health CEO’s pay made incorrect conclusions
We are responding to the cover story in the Aug. 11 issue (“CEO pay still soaring,” p. 8). As the elected officers of the medical staff at Mission Hospital, we feel the need for to correct misleading data published in this article—data that falsely concludes our health system’s CEO, Dr. Ronald Paulus, received more than a 200% pay increase. He did not.
As the author points out, “average workers” in the hospital environment have been getting a very low pay rate increase, and in today’s hospital environment face potential layoffs nationwide. Given this financial landscape, to claim that Paulus received a 231% pay hike is not only factually erroneous, but is destructive to morale at our hospital. The following are the relevant facts:
Paulus joined Mission Health in September 2010. He was paid for only four months in 2010 and his base compensation was correctly reported as $226,497 in the 2010 IRS Form 990 that the reporter apparently used for the article. Unfortunately, this was reported as the total base compensation for 2011. Annualized, this base compensation would have been $745,432.
The base compensation reported in the following year on the Form 990 was $749,748 as reported in the article as compensation for 2012.
The actual increase using annualized salary numbers from the two years is $4,316, less than 1%.
All of the data, including dates of employment, are available in the public domain (IRS 990s from 2009 to 2011). To not confirm such a spectacular increase in base salary is not appropriate journalistic due diligence.
According to the article, the reporter spoke to several healthcare executives for the article, but did not contact anyone from Mission Hospital to check the factual basis for the “biggest core salary winner” in 2012. Had the reporter done so, she would have learned that not only was the reported salary increase not correct, but that:
Paulus was compensated at a rate substantially lower than the reported $2.2 million average for CEOs in 2012.
Paulus and the other top executives to the director level at Mission Health budgeted no incentive payments for 2014 out of respect for the financial concerns facing the hospitals in our system. In Paulus’ case, this would be a minimum of $340,000 for this year.
In the four years from September 2010 through September 2014, Paulus supported the system—including the Employee Assistance Fund—with direct giving, personal support and formal pledges of more than $780,000. This amount is greater than his base salary in fiscal 2011.
Dr. Alan Johnson, chief of staff
Dr. David Jarrett, vice chief of staff
Dr. Stephen Hill, associate chief of staff, credentials
Dr. Janet Garrett, associate chief of staff, peer review
Mission Hospital Asheville, N.C.