THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
DOUBLE-TAKES AT BLUE CROSS CEO’S PAYOUT

These nonprofits have obligation to show restraint

March 4, 2011

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RE “BLUE Cross CEO got $8.6m in exit deal’’ (Page A1, March 2): Media stories about executive compensation gone wild have become commonplace, with leaders being compensated at levels that far exceed either job requirements or economic sense.

Nonprofit organizations, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, increasingly have joined this trend. For Blue Cross to have compensated its former CEO, Cleve L. Killingsworth, in this manner when health care spending growth in Massachusetts remains unchecked is a further indication of just how broken our health care system has become.

While the state attorney general’s office, which is now investigating Killingsworth’s payout, should continue to monitor compensation practices at health care companies, these organizations have an obligation to show restraint when making such decisions. If they cannot, one must question whether they deserve to keep their nonprofit status.

ALAN B. COHEN
Boston
The writer is a professor of health policy and management, and executive director of the Boston University Health Policy Institute. His views here are his own.