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Considering Compensation

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, March 13, 2013
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This article appears in the March 2013 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

In our November 2012 Intelligence Report, many healthcare leaders (38%) said that major enhancements are needed to their organization's executive compensation structure to retain and engage leaders. What tactics or strategies do you think should be preserved and what needs to change? What new areas need to be developed to ensure that you can attract and keep talented leaders?

Wallace Strickland 
President and CEO 
Rush Health System 
Meridian, Miss.

I have been at Rush 43 years. I understand compensation is an important part of it, but you also have to enjoy what you are doing. I don't know how we get back to where I think it used to be, where we are in this because we think we are doing this for the right reasons. We are helping take care of people. 

In the 1920s, the Rush brothers, who were physicians and sons of the founder, had a creed for the hospital: My brother's keeper, where those who can take care of those who can't. That is a philosophy that most of the doctors and administrative staff have here. They make very good money but they could make more money at other jobs and other locations.

When most of the local news media look at a Form 990 from a nonprofit, they gasp at how much money is made and they think that is all people live for. They don't assume that people are there for other reasons.

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