“Non-profit” Hospitals in Seattle

KUOW has a lovely piece on the profits of some of Seattle’s non-profit hospitals. Not surprising, but Swedish Medical Center (which is currently on my sh*t-list) is one of the hospitals they talk about.

Nurses at Swedish start at about $25 an hour. But for top doctors and executives at hospitals like Swedish, the paychecks dwarf that figure.

KUOW has learned that 15 nonprofit hospital leaders in the Seattle area earned at least $1 million in 2007. This elite group includes the CEOs of Swedish, Providence, Virginia Mason, Group Health, Seattle Children’s and MultiCare in Tacoma. Another three dozen hospital officials in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties earned at least half a million that year.

I think the question we need to be asking, when we’re talking about health care reform, is where is the money going? I mean this from every single point, from the doctor’s time and his liability insurance, education, home, golf, etc. to the prescription meds or procedures – the elements to make them, legal costs, patents, etc. How much money does Astra-Zeneca spend on pens for doctors alone?

Maybe I’m the only one curious about this – but I think these are important things to ask when you’re asking for an overhaul.

2 thoughts on ““Non-profit” Hospitals in Seattle

  1. I’d be curious to know what you think is an “OK” salary, and whether you honestly believe top-flight executive leaders can be found at whatever wage you think is just.

    1. Hi Mike! I can certainly understand your interest in this topic as Associate Director, Communications and Public Relations at Virginia Mason. I’m actually quite happy to know that you’re paying attention to blogs like mine. No doubt, on a personal and professional level you have an interest in what’s going on in our health care system.

      I certainly don’t have all the answers, but have a lot of questions, as a consumer. I have no experience with Virginia Mason, and the care that they provide there, or how they treat their employees, how they contract their services, and what their driving motivations might be. I’m concerned in the welfare of people, as a social worker, from all social and economic backgrounds. While I have mixed feelings on the topic of universal health care, I believe strongly that the health care industry, at all levels, should put the care of people first, and profits second. I didn’t go into the service of helping people because I thought I could make bank – I did it to help people and the hopes that I could also financially keep my head above water. It turns out, that the jobs in my vocation often barely pay enough for me to be out of the window of qualifying for housing assistance (not that I’ve ever applied.) The health care industry would do a better service to it’s consumers if it wasn’t drawn to the wealth, but drawn to the health of their consumers. I know that might make it hard to attract the best CEO’s – but maybe it’s not just the CEO’s – maybe it’s the people in between.

      To be clear, too, I’m not looking for a legislative change so much as a change in the hearts of those who serve others. Human beings are more than patient ID numbers, and having worked side by side with doctors and nurses, I can understand the pressures of minimizing the human interest, and just going home to comfort.

      Like I said, I don’t have the answers – but I want to have the freedom to ask the questions – and I think that all consumers have rights to seek answers.

      Thanks, Mike. Thanks for reading my blog.

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