As about 100 million Americans struggle with medical debt, two large nonprofit hospitals in Nashville see their revenues increasing, as they pay their executives millions of dollars.
The average family paid $22,463 in health insurance premiums in 2022, The Kaiser Family Foundation reported. That doesn’t include out-of-pocket costs like co-pays and deductibles, which can be thousands more.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center, one of the largest nonprofit hospital systems in the Nashville area, has seen its money grow during the pandemic, with net assets growing from $1.2 billion in 2019 to $1.9 billion in 2022.
President and CEO Dr. Jeffrey R. Balser made a combined $3.5 million in 2020, according to its most recently filed tax forms. A dozen other officers and highly compensated employees made between $1 million and $2.7 million that year.
VUMC received more than $441 million in Covid aid, according to an accounting from Covid Stimulus Watch.
That’s as VUMC is dropping some Medicare Advantage plans. While the hospital system reached an agreement with Humana to continue providing in-network services to Medicare Advantage members covered on Individual and Group PPO plans and to Human’s Commercial plan members — after saying it would drop coverage — it will no longer provide in-network services to Humana’s Medicare Advantage HMO plan members, and to Humana’s Kentucky Medicaid members. VUMC will be out of network for these members effective April 16.
Retirees of Metro Nashville Government are among the groups included in Humana’s Medicare Advantage PPO that were at risk of having their coverage dropped but a deal was reached.
Ascension Health, one of the largest nonprofit and Catholic health systems in the U.S. with 142 hospitals and 40 senior living facilities, owns Ascension Saint Thomas West and Ascension Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville.
The company has $15.5 billion in cash, and operates a venture capital fund and an investment advisory firm that helps other companies manage their money.
Ascension’s net assets also grew, up from $23.5 billion in 2019, to $27.1 billion in 2022, as President and CEO Joseph R. Impicciche made $13 million in 2021.
EVP/Chief Human Resources Officer Herbert J. Vallier made $7.6 million, and EVP/CFO Elizabeth Foshage made $3.2 million, EVP/general counsel Christine Kocot McCoy made almost $3 million.
Ascension’s facilities got more than $2 billion in federal Covid aid, according to the Covid Stimulus Watch project. The St. Thomas hospitals got a combined $140 million.
St. Thomas President/CEO Timothy Adams, recently promoted to regional operating officer and senior vice president of Ascension, made $1.8 million in 2021.
Ascension Saint Thomas just opened a new Murfreesboro neighborhood hospital — Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Westlawn, a 32,000 square-foot hospital with eight inpatient hospital rooms, emergency department, and physician office space, which brings 48 new jobs to the city.
Ascension spokesperson Nick Ragone said, “Ascension’s total rewards packages, including pay and benefits, are designed to compensate all associates fairly and in alignment with the market… The Ascension Board of Directors, an independent body, working with a nationally recognized and leading independent compensation consultant, as well as a separate executive compensation committee of the Ascension Board, establishes the organization’s goals and executive compensation to ensure socially responsible and equitable compensation that is competitive and consistent within the healthcare industry as well as among others in our unique space.”
He added that the compensation is tied to meeting financial goals and goals for delivering high-quality care.
Spokespeople from VUMC didn’t respond to requests for comment by our deadline.