Home / Medical Policy / Hospital CEOs Earn Tens of Thousands of Dollars From Patient Satisfaction

Hospital CEOs Earn Tens of Thousands of Dollars From Patient Satisfaction

Hospital CEO Pay Linked to Patient Satisfaction

Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) tweeted this slide from a lecture by Harvard’s Ashish K. Jha at this year’s Association for Healthcare Journalist’s Annual Meeting in Denver. The slide shows how CEO incomes are affected by different variables and contains a few interesting tidbits of information.

First, hospital CEOs earn around $600,000. Far more than most physicians.

Second, hospital CEO salaries are not significantly affected by multiple different, yet seemingly important factors, including “quality” scores, the number of patients who die in their hospitals, the number of readmissions to their hospital, or the amount of charity care they provide. Logically, it would seem that the payment system would want to incentivize hospital administrators to work on those topics: Improve quality scores, decrease hospital deaths, decrease readmissions, increase charity care. But payments systems apparently don’t work that way.

Want to know the thing that affects a hospital CEO’s salary the most? Patient Satisfaction.

Highly favorable patient satisfaction scores add an average of $51,000 to the income of hospital CEOs.

When your CEO threatens your job because your satisfaction scores aren’t high enough, when your CEO relies upon the statistically insignificant data reported by companies like Press Ganey, and when your CEO ignores studies showing that highly satisfied patients are more likely to die and suffer adverse consequences, now you know why your CEO may be making those decisions.

Plaintiff attorneys are crazy for not raising this issue in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Companies provide invalid statistics to hospital CEOs.
Hospital CEOs knowingly rely upon invalid statistics to influence medical care.
Tie patient harm to the CEO’s decisions (and motives) and you have another defendant with deep pockets who isn’t subject to a malpractice insurance cap.

Oh, and by the way, Press Ganey’s ratings over at Glassdoor – despite the obviously fake positive reviews – is still an abysmal 2.7 out of 5, with only 39% of employees willing to recommend this company to a friend. If doctors had those types of ratings, they would be fired immediately.
Why is CEO Patrick Ryan still around?


  1. Wow, color me shocked.

    The harder they shove the Press-Ganey happygas crap down our throats, the bigger their salaries balloon. Who’d’a thunk it?

    That works both ways though, so now they’ve just de-incentivized me from providing happy customers pretty much forever, or at least until everyone gets a slice of the pie. Somehow, my 1/3000th share of the CEO’s $50K doesn’t cry out to me for much more than what I think $17 worth of staff sugar and cinnamon looks like at my end of the shovel.

    But it pretty well confirms things for me: Press-Ganey became a priority right after the newest board of directors was appointed, pretty much the same day actual quality of delivered care became Job #47.

    I’m thinking of printing this article out with a link, and sending it to every malpractice attorney the State Bar Association lists on their referral site. Let’s ask Big Tobacco how it works when you try to ignore gravity.

  2. This is an amazing post in so many ways- thank you!

  3. Nothing in this article surprises me. In my hospital we have and ENTIRE DEPARTMENT dedicated to raising patient satisfaction scores staffed by nurses who have long forgotten what being a real RN is all about. When the scores dip they flood the units running around indicating that the sky is falling.
    During a staff meeting to “discuss scores” I made the mistake of asking if anyone present had had at least a fundamental statistics class and/or understood how flawed and subsequently invalid these scores are…the response…silence and on to the next topic.
    It is a shame that medicine in America is dictated based on such idiotic metrics, money grubbing CEO’s, and hordes of imbeciles willing to sacrifice integrity and professionalism to please a profit motivated system without a genuine thought in reference to patent safety, good outcomes, and employee satisfaction.

  4. I don’t know how others feel but for me I will only take the time out and put forth the effort to fill out a survey or comment card when I’ve had a positive experience in a hospital as a caretaker for my mother or a patient myself, never not once, “sorry ONCE ” (justified) do I bother if I’m less than happy. So the CEO of the hospital is rewarded for all the kudo’s and compliments I left Doctors and Nurses? Oh let’s not forget the CNA’S who are my personal favorites. Are Doctors and Nurses acknowledged and rewarded? If not, what’s the point !!! The public knows that a CEO is only as good as his or her staff is.

    • The public knows that a CEO is only as good as his or her staff is.

      Unfortunately, the public doesn’t know that. And many people don’t realize how much of a financial conflict there is between patient care decisions and CEO salaries. Quite a racket, eh?

      • Wow, quite…..Speaking on behalf of the public, not a good feeling to be clueless and misinformed. Definitely important to know and understand.

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