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Hospital CEO pay rises faster than overall health care spending

Brigham and Women's Healthcare President Elizabeth G. Nabel. Timothy Tai/for the Boston Globe/file

Pay increases for many top Massachusetts hospital executives outpaced the growth of state health spending in 2014, according to new filings with the Internal Revenue Service.

Leading the pack was Elizabeth G. Nabel, president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who drew total compensation of $5.4 million that year, up 119 percent from her $2.5 million pay package in 2013. Most of the increase was attributed to a jump in deferred compensation in 2014, the year she vested in a retirement plan managed by Brigham and Women’s corporate parent, Partners HealthCare.

The compensation data from the Brigham and other hospitals are contained in IRS filings by nonprofit organizations that are made with a nearly two-year lag.


Partners, the state’s largest hospital and physicians network, reported a 19 percent increase in total compensation, to $3.1 million, for chief executive Gary L. Gottlieb in 2014. Gottlieb left Partners early last year to lead Partners in Health, a separate organization.

Overall health care spending in Massachusetts climbed about 4.8 percent in 2014, according to the state Center for Health Information and Analysis. That was above a 3.6 percent target ceiling established in a law passed by the Legislature in 2012.

In a statement released by Partners, its board chairman, Edward P. Lawrence, said: “We must provide competitive wages and benefits in order to attract and retain the best individuals at a time when health care is undergoing sweeping change. The competition for excellent managers and leaders is especially strong at this time.”

Partners reported cuts in the pay packages of two other top executives in 2014.

Peter L. Slavin, president of Partners-owned Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, drew total compensation of $2.1 million, down 6 percent from a year earlier.

And David Torchiana, who headed the Mass. General physicians organization, had total compensation of $1.4 million, down 48 percent.


Changes in retirement vesting amounts reduced both pay packages.

Torchiana last year succeeded Gottlieb as chief executive of Partners HealthCare.

Other hospital systems also reported 2014 pay increases.

Total compensation rose 29 percent to $2.2 million for Howard R. Grant, president of Lahey Health System in Burlington; 7.1 percent to $1.5 million for Kevin Tabb, president of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston; 7.6 percent to $1.4 million for Kathleen E. Walsh, president of Boston Medical Center; and 70 percent to $1 million for Michael Wagner, president of Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Wagner spent much of 2013 heading the Tufts physician organization.

Boston Children’s Hospital reported total pay of $1.7 million for president Sandra Fenwick in 2014, up 41 percent. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston paid its president Edward J. Benz Jr., who will retire early next year, $1.5 million, up 7.1 percent.

The largest health system in Central Massachusetts, UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester, reported paying 2014 compensation of $1.6 million to chief executive Eric Dickson, a 41 percent increase from the previous year, and $1.1 million to Patrick Muldoon, president of UMass Memorial Medical Center, the system’s flagship hospital, up 58 percent.

Baystate Health in Springfield reported that its president emeritus, Mark R. Tolosky, had total pay of $1.4 million in 2014, when he retired midyear, down 23 percent from 2013. The current Baystate president, Mark A. Keroack, had total pay of $1.2 million in 2014.

Robert Weisman can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.