Health Care

Pay for CEO of UVM Health Network exceeds $2 million

John Brumsted
Dr. John Brumsted, the CEO of the University of Vermont Medical Center, speaks about the all-payer model at a news conference in February. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger

The chief executive officer of the largest hospital system in the state made more than $2 million in salary and benefits in 2015.

Dr. John Brumsted, the CEO of the University of Vermont Health Network and its flagship hospital, took in nearly $2.19 million in compensation that year.

Brumsted’s total compensation includes $979,064 in base pay and $492,000 in bonuses. The remainder includes contributions to a retirement account and health insurance, among other things.

VTDigger reviewed salary information for hospital CEOs and other administrators dating back to 2006. Brumsted’s pay in 2015 is the highest amount that any hospital administrator has made during that time.

Additionally, Brumsted was the highest-paid hospital executive in Vermont between 2012, when he became CEO, and 2015, the most recent year that numbers are available on the annual Form 990, which nonprofits such as hospitals submit to the Internal Revenue Service.

Eleven other executives at the UVM Health Network and the UVM Medical Center made more than $500,000 in salary and benefits in 2015. Many of them shared in the same bonuses that Brumsted received that year for meeting financial, quality and operational goals.

Their compensation packages do not include several private flights that the UVM Medical Center chartered for Brumsted and three others on the executive team, according to Michael Carrese, a spokesperson for the hospital.

“The purpose of the travel was to meet with hospitals in upstate New York as our network continues to evaluate future expansion and affiliation,” the hospital wrote in its Form 990.

Trends across Vermont hospitals

In 2015, the average pay and benefits for a CEO at a Vermont hospital, as well as Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, was $612,698. The median was $435,554.

The average pay and benefits for a Vermont hospital CEO represents an 11.9 percent increase over the year before, and the median pay and benefits represents a 4.7 percent increase over the year before.

Thomas Dee
Thomas Dee, CEO and president of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, speaks during the organization’s annual report to the public in May at the medical center. Photo by Jim Therrien/VTDigger

The average and median are both up because almost all CEOs saw an increase in their compensation — ranging from Brumsted, the highest paid CEO; Thomas Dee of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, the third-highest paid CEO; and Roger Albee, the lowest-paid CEO, who runs Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend.

There were 45 administrators making more than $500,000. Many of them were high-level administrators for the UVM Medical Center or Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. One was Todd Moore, the CEO of OneCare Vermont, a major health care reform company.

Two hospitals — Porter Medical Center in Middlebury and Copley Hospital in Morrisville — reported compensation for two different CEOs over the course of the year because of retirements.

The Green Mountain Care Board, which regulates hospital budgets and health insurance prices, does not track the pay for hospital administrators but is considering doing so.

The board has kept statistics going back more than a decade on the median pay and benefits for employees at hospitals other than Dartmouth-Hitchcock who are not doctors.

From 2014 to 2015, median pay for an employee at a hospital increased 3.3 percent to $80,704, from a starting figure of $78,162. The median pay for a CEO at a hospital, other than Dartmouth-Hitchcock, increased 8.9 percent to $426,747, from $392,017.

At the UVM Medical Center, trends from 2006 to 2015 show that CEO pay and benefits increased faster than pay and benefits for hospital employees who are not doctors.

Pay for the CEO roughly doubled, from $1.1 million to $2.2 million, while pay for employees went up 27 percent, from $66,166 to $84,327.

UVM Health Network compensation policies

Scottie Ginn is the chair of the compensation committee for UVM Medical Center, which works with a national consultant to set Brumsted’s pay. Brumsted then sets pay for the rest of the executive team.

The committee looks at the salary and bonus compensation of CEOs at comparable hospitals like the Mayo Clinic and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Ginn said. The committee then sets Brumsted’s base salary at the 50th percentile and bonuses at the 65th percentile.

In addition, the UVM Medical Center made contributions equivalent to 15 percent of Brumsted’s salary into a supplemental retirement account in 2015, according to the Form 990. In previous years, the hospital contributed 10 percent of his salary to a retirement account, according to a Form 990.

“It is a lot of money,” Ginn said. “I’m not going to argue it’s not, but it’s what we need to keep and attract the right leaders at our organization to help us do the right thing so we get the right health care for Vermonters and New Yorkers.”

UVM Medical Center
Construction on the University of Vermont Miller building in July. Photo courtesy of the University of Vermont Medical Center

Ginn said the UVM Medical Center is “an incredibly complex organization” that is “very well led” by Brumsted and his team. She said the most important thing they do is provide quality health care to people in Vermont and upstate New York.

Ginn said the hospital did not increase Brumsted’s base pay from 2014 to 2015 because, after looking at what other similar CEOs were making, the compensation committee saw that Brumsted was already being paid in the 50th percentile.

Brumsted and his team received three bonuses. One was for achieving an internal goal for an operating margin — the difference between revenue and expenses, better known in the business world as profits.

That year, the UVM Medical Center recorded record profits of $75.6 million. That represented three-quarters of profits earned among Vermont’s regulated hospitals, while the UVM Medical Center took in just half of the total revenue that patients spent in Vermont hospitals that year.

The executive team received a second bonus for getting state approval for a $187 million inpatient building. The project allows the hospital to replace existing semi-private rooms with private rooms where family members can stay on pullout couches and keep their sick relatives comfortable. The building’s opening is scheduled for 2019.

The executive team received the third bonus for improving the quality of care at the hospital. Ginn said the team was able to improve quality based on internal metrics.

“We do believe that if we have good quality, good efficiency follows,” Ginn said. “These people have an incredibly complex job, and they have, they’re doing a good job of improving health care in this area.”

She pointed to the hospital’s supply chain savings. Since the UVM Medical Center and Central Vermont Medical Center joined forces in 2011 to create the UVM Health Network, the hospitals have turned their bargaining power into nearly $50 million in supply chain savings.

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  • Christopher Daniels

    The legalized transfer of wealth continues unabated.

  • rosemariejackowski

    This is a very important article. It explains why health care in Vermont is so bad. There is no money left for real care. This is another reason why we need Single Payer and caps on all administrative compensation.

    Patients in Bennington wait more than a year for a Second Opinion – even when they have a serious diagnosis. What a mess !

    • Neil Johnson

      It’s government protected monopolies that are the problem. Single payer is no different. Second opinions from organizations that are all controlled by a single entity aren’t very unbiased. These doctors could get in huge trouble if they agreed with the organization, and since under your proposed and our current monopoly system there is only one place to work, how do you think that will work out for us consumers?

      What were the bonuses for? Raising our rates? As Vermonters we have really no choices, take it or leave it and they get to charge what ever they want….

      The joys of dealing with government sanctioned monopolies. We can do better.

  • Richard Meyer

    Just outrageous and the Green Mountain Care Board, responsible for controlling the state’s healthcare costs, doesn’t even track these salaries, much less address how they may contribute to the overall cost of healthcare in the state.

  • George Cross

    Since “big shots” at UVM Medical Center receive a handsome bonus based on the results of the multitude of surveys I have generously filled out in the past, you can rest assured that they will be filled with 1s and 2s in the future. Join me and we can reduce the cost of health care in Vermont.

  • John Grady

    I added up the numbers in the 2 charts

    The first group is under $10 million and there are 625,000 people in the state. That is $16 per person.

    The second group is under $40 million which is about $64 per person.

    The cost of management overhead is costing about $1.00 per week per person in the state.

  • Peter Everett

    David Ortiz made $13 million for working 6 months, batting, maybe, 4 times a game. Each time at bat may last 6 – 8 minutes. He, then, worked for 24 – 32 minutes/ game. 164 game schedule, in which he may have played in 150 games. There fore he may have worked for 900 – 1200 minutes perseason, or 15 – 20 hours/season of actual work time. Yes, he spends other hours, on site, but, what he gets paid for is game time. So, for each plate appearance, he received about $866,667.00. Where is people’s outrage at this? Tickets cost more than most working person can afford. Most of them are sold to corporate entities, those in attendance, at games, usually haven’t paid for them.
    In 1994, when baseball went on strike I gave up on professional sports. Living 15 miles from Fenway, I took my son to Sox games 20 – 30 times a year. Ten minutes from Foxboro, I had season tickets. Since ’94, I haven’t been to any professional game (watch little on TV). No respect for pro athletes. I work(ed) too damn hard to spend ridiculous prices so an athlete, who really contributes little society. Yesterday, everyone complains about the medical profession, and what they make. In 2014, when I had benign brain tumor removed, it was worth the expense. I had to wait, but, the pro athlete gets service the same day. Where are people’s outrage that the “wealthy” athlete, more times than not, can’t spell their full name correctly get better service than him or her. Our societal priorities are totally screwed up. Someone who provides a needed service gets railed upon, yet, a pro athlete (any sport) is idolized for doing very little to benefit society. Something ain’t right in Denmark, folks? Yeah, healthcare is costly, so ain’t pro sports. If you don’t like it, thank your government AND stop supporting pro sports (you will find out you can live very well without it). Priorities need to be adjusted.

    • Steve Baker

      I’ve never heard Bernie complain about Robert Kraft compensation vs an employee that sweeps his stadium.
      One thing the Graphs do show, It PAYS BIG when there’s an unlimited amount of taxpayers money flowing in. The very same can and should be exposed for the Collage and University systems. How much does the President of UVM pocket vs a Grounds Keeper?

      • Peter Everett

        We have to stop the unlimited flow of taxpayer’s money!!! There is only one way, people know what it is, yet, they keep getting reelected. You and I have the power to do so, but, unfortunately, most voters are either too lazy or dumb to do this. We get what we deserve.
        As far as other things go…education is the best way to attain the American Dream. Check the qualifications of CEO’s versus a janitor. I’m not saying it’s right to be this way, but, employers reward more, those people who chose the more difficult route than the easier route. If you were the employer, I bet you would probably do the same. Sad part now is, there are far too many who want to live off the sweat of workers (doesn’t make any difference to those doing this). As long as we reward the Leisure Class they will continue to grow in numbers. Once they reach the majority…God bless us, because it will only get worse because they control us. The “freebies” Bernie promises will be a reality. But, the good news is once the money runs out…It’s over, except the rebellion that will take place. Sorry, I’m too old to be around to see it. Hope you enjoy it.

      • Peter Everett

        Of course you’ve never heard Bernie complain. Why would he? He made over a million last year!!! He never even earned what he was paid to do…represent us. He collected his $174K and cast only one vote! When you got a gig as good as that, you keep your mouth shut tight!!! Would you say anything if you were able to do that? Neither would. Stop admiring those who abuse the system.

  • Barbie Alsop

    I have a friend who has been trying to get the solution to a number of medical problems at UVM for over two years. She finally got the OK to get a second opinion at Dartmouth Hitchcock. UVM did not send her records, and wouldn’t tell her why until four months after her first Dartmouth appointment. A silly matter of a form or two. When Dartmouth finished doing a round of tests that were never offered at UVM, she was told she did not have any of the conditions that UVM had diagnosed. This does not surprise me. UVM told me that there was nothing to be done for my frozen shoulder after I broke it falling on ice. I went for a second opinion to a local doctor not affiliated with UVM but having privileges at the hospital. He did tests never offered at UVM, gave me a cortisone shot, and sent me to physical therapy that unfroze my shoulder in a matter of a month, as opposed to the year or two that the UVM “professional” thought I would suffer. While this is only anecdotal, in at least two incidents, UVM didn’t offer tests that would have helped in getting their patients better, and never treated the actual problems their patients had. A monopoly is never a good thing, and UVM is a monopoly. Time to break it up. Time for single payer.

    • Lester French

      You should rethink your last sentence based on what you wrote in the previous two. Single payer is a monopoly! One payer, one administration, no recourse.

  • Tree Spaulding

    This is just disgusting. Shame on him. And the system.

  • Peter Everett

    With only a few million versus 330 million, there is a big difference. Just give it time, and, those things you rave about will collapse. They always do. Our system may be messed up, you’re not to blame. It’s those we have entrusted to work for us. Hate to say this, but, they’ve sold out to the highest bidder that will take care of them. We’re only an after thought. They throw us a meager bone, now and then, hoping it satisfies us. Unfortunately, too many of us have been bought by this. Time to remove them all.

  • Elizabeth Chang

    This is reason number one why single payer will never happen in vermont or nationally. Try taking people’s pay away and the claws come out. Try shifting money from a CEO to a bunch of less fortunate people. Not going to happen. Health care will not change in this country. Single payer is a pipe dream perpetuated by people with no grasp of economics or history. All that aside, it’s a joke the CEO of a hospital makes 2 mil a year.

  • Elizabeth Chang

    Also it should be noted that the ‘cheif development officer’ at UVM makes $500k a year. This is the position who’s only responsibility is to raise money. And for that he’s making a half a mil. Does anyone grasp the madness here? Heath care is for profit, and everyone is getting rich from it. Meanwhile the humans using the hospitals and services are treated like cattle and it’s expensive.

  • Will Workman

    This does not meet the definition of a non profit. Make them start paying taxes, especially real estate taxes.

  • steveames

    “To attract talent” is SUCH BS. When will the Compensation Committees come up with a more creative excuse?

  • J Scott Cameron

    The salaries for these CEO’s seem out of touch and way out of line. Health care reform and lessening the costs of health insurance is much more difficult in the USA because we pay administrators, doctors and other health care professionals much more than they are paid in countries like Canada or England which have socialized medicine. https://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/how-much-do-doctors-in-other-countries-make/

  • Not bad, Dr. John Brumsted, the CEO of the University of Vermont Health Network, earned twice as much as Bernie Sanders.