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C-Suite Compensation Remains Taboo

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, December 3, 2012

Compensation is usually a taboo conversation in every industry. Interestingly, healthcare leaders don't mind talking about how they calculate physician salaries, but don't ask them to chat about how they calculate their own. That conversation quickly runs dry.

When I landed my first job as a teenager, my father, a business owner, instructed me not to talk to any of the other employees about how much I earned.

"Why not?" I inquired.

"It's no one else's business but your own," he responded. "And it can cause a lot of problems if people are earning drastically different wages."

I had my father's advice in mind when I began querying hospitals for a HealthLeaders magazine cover story on how healthcare reform is influencing C-suite compensation structures. I began with an advantage: the HealthLeaders Intelligence Report on executive compensation was under way at the same time. More than 250 healthcare leaders responded to that survey, alerting us to new trends and compensation forecasts.

I thought perhaps I'd find some willing sources from our survey, but that was not the case.

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