Wash. Hospital CEO Gets Pay Cut – To Just Over $1M A Year

Washington’s highest-paid public-hospital executive has won a new two-year employment contract that will pay him more than $1 million a year in salary and bonuses.

But for longtime Valley Medical Center Chief Executive Rich Roodman, the deal amounts to a pay cut.

Roodman’s contract was the focus of a Kaiser Health News story last June, which looked at how incentives for hospital CEOS were driving the kind of hospital profits and expansion that many say are no longer affordable for patients, employers and taxpayers.

The 30-year CEO of the Renton hospital — whose soaring pay has stirred local controversy for years — won unanimous approval for the contract extension Tuesday from the Valley Medical board of trustees.

“We need strong leadership during this period of health-care change,” trustee Bernie Dochnahl said before the vote. Other trustees said the contract represented a good compromise that recognized Roodman’s service but paved the way for new leadership.

Dr. Paul Joos, an outspoken critic of Roodman’s, said the negotiation process revealed possible past errors and “struck a good compromise for the future.”

He noted the search for Roodman’s successor will begin immediately.

Roodman, who attended Tuesday’s board meeting, slipped out without comment after it concluded.

Tuesday’s approval ensures Roodman, 65, will continue working as the top executive of taxpayer-funded Valley Medical Center —- the centerpiece of King County Public Hospital District No. 1 — through at least Jan. 1, 2016. It also signals that his time is coming to an end.

The current contract for Roodman, who earned $1.3 million in total pay last year, expires at month’s end.

Under the new contract, Roodman’s current base salary of about $769,000 will be frozen. He will still get up to $238,341 in annual incentives, but contributions to his supplemental retirement plans stop, as do “retention” bonuses that have recently garnered him more than $235,000 per year.

The contract includes five weeks of annual vacation, standard health benefits provided to hospital executives and physicians, and a car allowance. It also offers Roodman the possibility to work for another year.

Once Roodman retires, he’ll walk away with a $7.5 million retirement package, records show. The amount includes a standard hospital-executive retirement plan valued at $1.6 million, plus supplemental retirement plans worth $3.4 million and two life-insurance policies valued at $2.5 million.

Valley Medical Center, a 303-bed acute-care hospital, serves more than 400,000 South King County residents as part of the state’s largest public hospital district, which encompasses the cities of Kent and Renton and includes parts of Tukwila, Auburn, Black Diamond, Covington, Federal Way, Maple Valley, Newcastle and Seattle.

In 2013, the owner of a typical home in the district assessed at $210,000 paid about $105 in property taxes under the district’s tax rate of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, according to the King County Assessor’s Office.

Seattle Times reporter Christine Clarridge contributed.