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West Penn Allegheny Health System top earner: CEO who left

Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 12:06 a.m.
 

It pays to walk away from West Penn Allegheny Health System.

Just ask Christopher Olivia, the health system's CEO until he resigned in June 2011.

Olivia was paid $6 million by the financially hurting hospital network for the 12 months ended June 30, 2012, according to tax returns released on Tuesday.

In the previous year, his last at the helm of West Penn Allegheny, Olivia was paid $7.4 million. By comparison, UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff earned $6 million that year. UPMC is expected to make public its 2012 tax returns this week.

Olivia declined to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement in his severance package.

Officials with West Penn Allegheny declined to comment.

Olivia joined the five-hospital system in March 2008 and oversaw three years of heavy financial losses. In the last two years, when his compensation totaled $13.4 million, West Penn Allegheny reported a combined $164.3 million loss from operations and a combined net loss of $17.4 million.

His compensation last year included base pay of $677,905, bonus of $2.5 million, other compensation of $930,000, retirement and deferred compensation of $1.88 million, and other benefits of $10,553.

Cathy Stoddard, president of the SEIU nurses union at Allegheny General Hospital, declined to comment on Olivia's pay, but said she was glad to have a new CEO.

“It's a brand new day,” she said, referring to the acquisition by health insurer Highmark that was completed last month.

Highmark named John Paul the CEO of Allegheny Health Network, Highmark's new hospital network that includes West Penn Allegheny, Jefferson Regional Medical Center and St. Vincent Health System in Erie.

Since stepping down from West Penn Allegheny, Olivia became a private contractor for Highmark for one year. Highmark spokesman Aaron Billger declined to comment.

While Olivia was the highest paid employee at West Penn Allegheny last year, the system's tax returns show seven other employees made at least $1 million. And like Olivia, five of them are no longer employed by the system:

• Diane Dismukes, former interim CEO, $1.58 million.

• David Kiehn, former chief financial officer, $1.13 million.

• Gregory Burfitt, former president of West Penn and Allegheny General hospitals, $1.05 million.

• Roy Santarella, former chief administration officer, $2.28 million.

• Dr. Sanford Kurtz, former chief medical officer, $1.04 million.

Still with the system are Dr. Patrick DeMeo, chair of the system's department of orthopedic surgery, $1.06 million; and Dr. James Wilberger, chair of the system's department of neurosurgery, $1.04 million.

Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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