Amazingly according to multiple reports the incentive was simply the reduction of infection in hospitals which triggers tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands in bonus pay. According to a release:
The CEO of UCLA’s Medical Center is set to receive $218,728 on top of his $739,000 annual salary and the CEO of the UCSF is set to receive a bonus of $181,227 on top of his $739,000 salary.
This is the same UC system that has furloughed employees, cut wages and salaries, reduced classes, and imposed a 32% fee increase on student on top of previous fee hikes in the double-digits.
Writes Bruce Maiman in an editorial published in the Sacramento Bee Friday:
” The UC system is broke. It’s raising tuition and fees. Rank-and-file hospital employees are taking pay cuts and suffering layoffs. The board says it doesn’t like doing this but there’s no state money and they have no choice, so everyone has to share the pain.
Yet they’re paying bonuses? Know what they’re based on? Lowering infection rates and increasing patient satisfaction. At a hospital.
In other words, we’re hiring a professional at six figures to run a hospital, the expectation being that it’s infection-free, but he gets paid a bonus if he cuts down the rate of infection.”
As he writes this should obviously be a goal of salaried employees, not something they need to add incentives to:
“Obviously, no hospital is infection-free and not every patient is satisfied, but you’d think that keeping a hospital clear of infection would be a primary function for any salaried hospital employee, not something to be incentivized.”
The San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday reported that UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellman said:
her hospital saw a more than 5 percent drop in one type of infection, and that 89.5 percent of patients surveyed reported being satisfied with care.
“This is how you run a great medical center,” she said, referring to incentives.
It is also may be how you run an institution that is going broke. This is the same Desmond-Hellman who took a 12 percent pay hike over her successor for a $450,000 salary last summer at a time when UC was announcing their huge cuts.
Naturally the lucrative awards for such a mundane incentive structure have spawned angree from employees who have been laid off or forced to take painful paycuts.
Kevin Rooney from UPTE, which represents thousands of nonnursing health professionals:
“They say we all have to share the pain, but managers never seem to share the pain.”
Also angered are the nurses, who according to the Chronicle say that
“instead of improving safety, hospital executives are squeezing hospital staffing to dangerous levels in order to meet financial goals.”
Beth Kean director of the California Nurses Association at UC:
“These bonuses reward chronic understaffing of nurses and other health care staff.”
AFSCME President Lakesha Harrison also expressed outrage:
“Excessive pay and extravagant perks is yet another example of UC executive’s misguided choices and misplaced priorities. Workers are being asked to put less food on their families’ tables while UC executives continue to enrich them themselves. Students are asked to pay more but get fewer services. This is outrageous and unacceptable. It is the reason why Californian’s need to reform the UC to make it accountable to taxpayers, not their own self interest.”
Naturally Senator Leland Yee is outraged.
“At a time when the university is increasing student fees and issuing furloughs and layoffs for low-wage workers, it is outrageous that they are finding new ways to enrich their top executives. You would hope that the exorbitant salaries and perks would be enough for administrators to do their jobs without further taxing students, taxpayers, and patients.”
Governor Schwarzenegger who has spent the last few years cutting back salaries and attempting to furlough state workers vetoed legislation authored by Senator Yee that would have prohibited executive pay raises during bad budget years at the UC and the California State University.
Said the Senator:
“The public is tired of the UC administration acting like AIG. We can ill-afford an administration that continues to disrespect taxpayers, students, and low-wage workers and faculty.”
This really falls into the category of “what are these guys thinking.” The incentive structure here makes zero sense, particularly the amount of the bonuses during a time of budget crisis. It also sends the wrong message to the workers who are being asked to suffer while top executives already making good salaries are getting large bonuses. I am simply baffled at the arrogance of UC on this matter.
—David M. Greenwald reporting