Hospital CEOs got richer as nurses faced wage cuts, layoffs, and risked their lives
We heard the refrain countless times during the COVID-19 pandemic that healthcare workers are heroes. And while they certainly are, it seems they haven’t exactly received a heroic pay.
An explosive New York Times analysis Revealed frustrating results about how federal aid to hospitals continued to hold executive pockets full – while nurses and other workers were forced to accept pay freezes or be given leave.
Billions in bailouts
According to the NYT report, 60 of the country’s largest hospital chains – which include organizations like the Mayo Clinic and HCA Healthcare – received more than $ 15 billion in emergency funding through the federal CARES bill, which was passed during the pandemic.
Many of the health corporations like Providence Health System took the money despite sitting on their own cash holdings that they regularly invest in Wall Street stocks for even more profit. providence, for example, generated $ 1 billion in investment income in 2019 alone. These cash reserves are intended to help health organizations in emergencies – like a global pandemic? – but they could still get federal funds in unbelievable amounts.
And while we obviously want to make sure that our hospitals and healthcare facilities have the resources they need to care for patients, the obvious problem is that, while some hospitals claim they have no money to keep all of their staff, they are adequate Providing PSAs or paying emergency tariffs, they had no problem getting their executives’ paychecks.
The NYT found that the top five paid officials in each major hospital chain received approximately $ 874 million in salaries last year alone. And while it could be argued that high executive salaries are the norm, some of the conditions expected of caregivers are certainly not “normal” – like managing a life-threatening pandemic without feeling properly protected.
Just a week after they received $ 1 billion in bailouts and continued paying millions to their executives – read that again, it’s plural, as in several Million Dollar Salaries – HCA also threatened to fire thousands of its nurses if they weren’t willing to freeze payments and make wage concessions.
The burden on poorly paid hospital workers
It probably goes without saying why hospital workers – including nurses, doctors, janitors, and housekeeping staff – are frustrated with this revelation. With key workers being forced to do more work with fewer wages or fewer resources, hospital managers who were safe from the physical threat of the virus did not feel the same economic impact.
So who exactly is entitled to this bailout? Keeping the frontline workers or hospitals’ “cash reserves” to weather another possible storm? And what complicates the situation is that the amount of money a hospital received was based on its average income, not on actual needs – that is, hospitals with enough resources to actually invest, for example get more money as low-income rural hospitals whose staff live from paycheck to paycheck, or patients who are largely uninsured.
Assuming the rescue money was to be used to help health care workers, some express their opinion that rather than funding nurses and other health care providers who were on leave, their contracts were terminated, or they were not given risk money, the money was used elsewhere. Side note, the means did forbid the payment of executive salaries, but did not limit the “bonuses” of money.
“We have to demand that everyone who has been laid off gets their job back,” it says in one tweet. “Were these ‘top executives’ on the front line … they risked their lives and their families to people with # Covid19? No. #hospitalbailout # return the money @New York Times @CNN @MSNBC ask these questions ”
How hospital managers react
In response to the financial revelations, the NYT reported that some executives made “modest” pay cuts, although the details of these numbers are not clear.
In addition, even executives who have publicly spoken out in favor of repaying part of their salary do not give a complete picture. For example, if you calculate the entire salary package, including stocks and other assets, for an executive who donates half their salary for six months, that would be just 1.5% of their actual pay.
Other health organizations are proactively announcing wage cuts for top staff to help workers who have been on leave. For example ThedaCare doctor and advanced practice clinician announced They would take a 10% pay cut while their CEO, Imran A. Andrabi, MD, President and CEO of ThedaCare, would take a 50% cut and the other healthcare executives would take a 40% cut.
The cuts, they hope, will ensure no layoffs are required to cover the projected $ 70 million loss in sales.