News & Events

Massachusetts Nurses Association Statement Regarding Salaries of Hospital CEOs

The Massachusetts Nurses Association is appalled at the exorbitant salaries and compensation being paid to the CEOs and other top managers of Massachusetts hospitals, particularly at a time when the Massachusetts hospital industry is failing so miserably in their core mission, which is to provide safe, quality health care to patients in our state’s hospitals. See story in Boston Globe.

In 2005, a survey of recent patients in Massachusetts hospitals found that one in four, an estimated 235,000 patients each year, report their safety was compromised during their hospital stay.

Massachusetts currently ranks a shocking 22nd in the nation in patient safety, according to HealthGrades, Inc., a leading health care research firm which tracks all of the nation’s hospitals and their industry’s performance in keeping patients safe from preventable medical errors. The state’s dismal safety ranking has remained unchanged in the last year.

A survey of Massachusetts nurses last year found that more than two-thirds of nurses reported an increase in preventable medication errors in our state’s hospitals, primarily due to chronic understaffing of hospitals by these CEOs. One in three nurses reported patient deaths due to these conditions. A similar survey of the state’s physicians found that a shocking one in five physicians reported patient deaths due to understaffing.

These CEOs are profiting, while the patients who depend on the care delivered at their facilities are suffering.

In addition, while CEOs reap huge salary and compensation increases, they are not rewarding the employees on the front lines who actually deliver the care patients receive. Poor working conditions and mismanagement of hospitals has led to an unprecedented exodus of nurses from hospital bedside nursing in recent years, as nurses refuse to work under the deplorable conditions created and sanctioned by these overpaid CEOs.

A case in point is John O’Brien, CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester, who saw a 38 percent increase in his salary and benefits over the past year. At the same time he is in contract negotiations with the nurses at UMass Memorial Medical Center/University campus, where he is demanding more than 50 contract concessions, including the elimination of their defined benefit pension plan and dramatic increases in the cost of their health insurance benefits.