Amid medical debt crisis, hospital executive pay higher than ever

Americans have greater access to health insurance, and therefore more affordable health care, than ever before, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. However, if you have major surgery, a prolonged illness, a serious injury or a lengthy hospital stay, medical bills can soon become overwhelming.

Hospital care accounted for almost one third of the $3 trillion that Americans spent on health care in 2014, making it distressing for many people to learn that compensation (including, salaries, bonuses and other incentives) for hospital executives has been increasing.

In 2013, the average hospital chief executive officer's salary alone was $386,000. When you add in deferred compensation, stock options and other financial perks, a number of hospital execs — even those who work for non-profit facilities — pull in millions each year. Further, there's no conclusive evidence that all of this money spent on hospital executives leads to better medical care and outcomes for patients.

In some states, including Arizona, there's been a move to cap CEO salaries. However, so far, at least in our state, efforts haven't been successful. A proposed voter referendum for a $450,000 cap was just dropped when the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers failed to support it.

With health care costs projected to rise next year when health insurance sign-up time rolls around at work and in the state health care exchanges, it's important to look carefully at your options. However, if medical debt has wreaked havoc with your finances and you don't see a way out, it may be worthwhile to consult with an experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney to determine what options you have.

Source: Huffington Post, "Hospital CEO Pay Rises While Americans Drown in Medical Debt," Shawn Radcliffe, accessed Sep. 21, 2016

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