University of California Pays $2.4 Million in Bonuses To 65 Hospital Executives
The University of California in 2004 paid about $2.4 million in bonuses to 65 executives at its five teaching hospitals, according to a report made public Wednesday by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The report, originally prepared for the UC Board of Regents, found that the bonuses averaged $36,000 and that 11 executives' bonuses exceeded $50,000.
UC documents indicate that UC President Robert Dynes approved the bonuses in October 2004 and that the bonuses were outlined to the regents last month.
The board of regents authorized a bonus plan in 1992 and restated its support for the plan in 1997 after a consultant's report found that compensation for executives at UC teaching hospitals "lagged the market significantly," the Chronicle reports.
The plan calls for bonuses of as much as 20% of an employee's salary. Bonus payments are based on meeting or exceeding standards for financial performance, quality of service, employee satisfaction, patient satisfaction and strategic planning. Criteria vary across campuses.
UC officials said the bonuses were necessary in order to attract and retain the best executives available.
UC spokesperson Paul Schwartz said, "The incentive compensation is a reflection of the overall success of the medical center."
Union spokesperson Faith Raider said the amount spent on executive bonuses would have been "better spent on patient care and low-wage workers and maintaining the quality of services." She added, "We have seen a lot of cutbacks in staffing and services, and we think this money could have gone to that."
Jennifer Lilla, president of the University of California Student Association, said, "That is half the money we are trying to get returned to the financial aid pool. Yes, it made a difference in a handful of people's lives, but it could have made a difference in literally thousands of students' lives had it been diverted elsewhere" (Schevitz, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/3).