Women have made themselves at home in executive positions at the largest hospital systems in the Dayton area, defying the boys-club mentality and societal stereotypes that continue to stymie progress for many of their female counterparts.
Despite holding more than three-quarters of all health care jobs, women comprise only about 21 percent of executives and board members at the nation’s Fortune 500 health care firms, according to a recent report from Modern Healthcare, a weekly business publication targeting executives in the health care industry.
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By contrast, female executives in the Dayton area accounted for 40 percent of the 20 highest-paid hospital executives in 2015 and are well represented throughout the corporate pipeline, even at the highest levels.
For example, Terri Day, Kettering Health Network’s first female president, was one of four system presidents and CEOs to earn more than $1 million in salary and incentive pay in 2015, based on the nonprofit hospitals’ 990 tax forms filed with the IRS.
Day, who was replaced as president of the $1.5 billion health system by Roy Chew, took home salary and incentives worth $1.23 million in 2015, ranking third on the highest-paid list. That was one spot ahead of Chew, who earned $1.07 million in pay and incentives in 2015.
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Meanwhile, Premier Health’s Mary Boosalis earned just under $1 million in base pay and incentives ($867,424) as executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2015 before taking over as president of the $2 billion health system last year. Boosalis, who consolidated the roles of president and CEO at the beginning of 2017, succeeded former President and CEO James Pancoast, who netted $1.42 million in 2015.
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“I am fortunate that I found an organization that values diversity, and that it is an intrinsic part of our culture,” Boosalis said. “My experiences with board members, administrators, physicians and staff were based on the premise that diversity in leadership and thought would yield better business results. This was not only the right thing to do, but made sound business sense.”
That’s more than just lip service at Premier, where failing to meet diversity goals set by the board’s subcommittee on diversity and inclusion could result in a pay cut, according to Barbara Johnson, vice president of human resources at Premier, and also one of the Top 20 highest-paid hospital executives in 2015, with base pay and incentives totaling $478,637.
“We report to our board every quarter about how we’re doing with the metrics that they’ve established for us,” she said. “We hold back pay if we’re not successful, so it is a part of our culture here at Premier. Diversity is part of our focus, and we’re held accountable.”
The growing number of highly compensated female executives in the Kettering network, reflect the organizations’ progress in promoting those responsible for making critical health care decisions for patients, said Phil Parker, president of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Kettering board’s compensation committee.
“Many of our administrative leaders have come up through the nursing ranks; all the way from the bedside to administration and supervision,” Parker said, noting that Rebecca Lewis, president of Kettering’s Southview Medical Center in Washington Twp., began her career as a registered nurse. Lewis took home $373,306 in pay and incentives in 2015.
Deborah Feldman, president and CEO at Dayton Children’s Hospital and the highest paid local female hospital president with fiscal 2015 salary and incentives worth $654,703, said promoting gender diversity is more than just an exercise in social equity and has had a positive impact on the hospital’s performance.
“We try to ensure that we have diversity where we can because frankly our families and patients are diverse, and if we’re going to treat them, we need to reflect that diversity,” Feldman said.
How we got the story
This media outlet obtained hundreds of public IRS records for local nonprofit hospitals to report on the salaries and incentives awarded to hospital CEOs and executives. All nonprofits are required to disclose financial and salary information to the IRS, in exchange for their tax-exempt status. Count on us to continue our in-depth coverage of health issues that impact your pocket book.