Hawaii’s public hospital system employs more than 4,000 workers, and payroll represents two-thirds of the organization’s $547 million annual budget.

Hawaii Health Systems Corp. (HHSC), which runs 14 health-care facilities on five islands, received about one-eighth of its budget last year, or $66.9 million, from the state’s general fund, with most of its operating budget coming from patient services.

Civil Beat filed a request under the state’s open records law asking for the names, positions and salaries of the system’s employees. The request is part of a larger effort to make more transparent how the state is spending taxpayer money. (You can also read articles about state salaries, University of Hawaii salaries and pay at the Legislature.) HHSC provided a list of 4,092 employees organized alphabetically, not by facility or region. For unionized employees, the HHSC provided Civil Beat with salary ranges.

The HHSC salary data reflects a 5 percent pay cut taken by executive and nonunion employees, which went into effect Oct. 1, 2009. HHSC employees represented by the Hawaii Government Employees Association also took a 5 percent cut in pay, effective Oct. 1, 2009 through June 30, 2011. On April 1, employees represented by the United Public Workers union began taking furlough days twice a month, also through June 30, 2011.

Here is the data as provided by HHSC to Civil Beat.

Civil Beat has created a searchable database for full members to make the data more accessible. Here’s an example of such a database.

HHSC is often described as a “quasi-public” state agency. The state in 1996 transferred oversight of its rural community hospitals from the Department of Health to the newly formed HHSC to give the facilities more autonomy and self-governance. The system is managed by a CEO and five regional CEOs, all under the control of a 12-member board of directors.

The organization is required to submit annual reports to the Hawaii Legislature. It includes salary information by position in those reports, but does not include employee names. Under state law, their names, salaries and positions are among many details of their employment that are a matter of public record.

HHSC spent $369 million on salaries and benefits last year, representing the bulk of its operating expenses of $547 million. The most recent financial report available is for the year ended June 30, 2009. HHSC said financials for the year ended June 2010 won’t be available until the end of the year, when an audit is completed. HHSC spokesman Miles Takaaze said the system is projecting a $537 million operating budget for fiscal 2011, with about $80.5 million from the state general fund.

The hospital network, which accounts for almost 20 percent of all acute care discharges in the state, lost $64.4 million last year. This despite the state giving it an additional $25.1 million to cover union pay increases.

Here is a breakdown of the HHSC’s five regions and employee compensation for each hospital:

East Hawaii Region:

West Hawaii Region:

Kauai Region:

Maui Region:

Oahu Region:

HHSC said expenses for salaries and benefits had increased 11.2 percent from the previous year due to the following:

  • Collective bargaining pay raises of 2.5 percent to 5 percent for union employees totaling $13.9 million, and associated benefit expenses totaling $4.6 million.
  • The two Kauai facilities converted its physicians from contractors to employees in late 2008 at a cost of $5.4 million.
  • Pension increases to make up a liability.

A Civil Beat analysis of the salary information shows that the system’s five regional CEOs are among the highest paid employees — three of them are paid more than the interim systemwide president and CEO.

Howard Ainsley, regional CEO for the system’s East Hawaii region, is the highest paid employee with an annual salary of $228,000. That salary would make him the fourth highest paid employee in state government, not including the University of Hawaii. Three other health officials are ahead of him. Earl Greenia, head of the West Hawaii region, is second-highest paid at $218,500. (Greenia resigned this month to take a position in California, and his last day with HHSC will be Oct. 31.) Wesley Lo, in charge of the Maui region’s three facilities, is third at $211,016.

Alice Hall, interim president and CEO of the entire system, is the fourth-highest employee with a salary of $195,938. Hall’s permanent title is vice president and general counsel. The regional CEO for the two Kauai hospitals, Jerry Walker, earns $185,250 a year, while the CEO for the Oahu facilities, Vincent Lee earns $184,310 a year.

By comparison, Civil Beat looked at the salaries for executives of some of Hawaii’s private hospital systems. The president and CEO of The Queens Health Systems, which oversees 10 companies including The Queen’s Medical Center, is paid a base salary of $573,777 and total compensation of $1.67 million, according to the most recent tax filing with Guidestar.org.

The president and CEO of Hawaii Pacific Health, which operates four hospitals — Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, Kapiolani Medical Center at Pali Momi, Straub Clinic & Hospital and Wilcox Health on Kauai — receives $1.1 million in compensation, according to the company’s most recent tax filing.

Here’s a list of the 50 highest-paid employees of the system.

Rank Name Title Salary
1 Howard Ainsley REGIONAL CEO $228,000
2 Earl Greenia REGIONAL CEO $218,500
3 Wesley Lo REGIONAL CEO $211,016
4 Alice Hall INTERIM PRESIDENT/CEO $195,938
5 Edward Fess REGIONAL SYSTEMS DESIGN OFFICER $190,000
6 Jerry Walker REGIONAL CEO $185,250
7 Vincent Lee REGIONAL CEO $184,310
8 Kiyotaka Yazawa MEDICAL DIRECTOR $180,500
9 Money Atwal ASST ADMR/CFO & CIO $178,375
10 Kenneth Herzog ASST ADMR/CHIEF FIN OFFCR $175,750
11 Kathryn Harter ASST HOSPITAL ADMR $171,000
12 Patrick Saka ASST ADMR/CAO & CFO $166,476
13 Rod Bjordahl CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER $163,068
14 Gerald Tomory MEDICAL DIRECTOR $155,610
15 Lance Segawa INTERIM COO $147,488
16 Patricia Kalua HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR $133,380
17 Daniel Brinkman CHIEF NURSE EXECUTIVE $133,000
18 Joanne Iritani CHIEF NURSE EXECUTIVE $127,300
19 Edward Chu INTERIM CFO $126,216
20 Julie-Beth Ako ASST HOSPITAL ADMR $123,044
21 Edward Peskin MEDICAL DIRECTOR $120,000
22 Paul Tsukiyama VP/DIR OF HUMAN RESOURCES $120,000
23 Russell Johnson ASST ADMR/CHIEF FIN OFFCR $118,750
24 Nicholas Hughey HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR $117,171
25 Mary Ephan ASST ADMR-CHIEF OPER OFCR $114,135
26 Merilyn Harris HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR $114,000
27 David Lane Jr CHIEF COMPLIANCE & PRIVACY OFR $114,000
28 Nathan Yim ASST ADMR/CHIEF FIN OFFCR $112,589
29 Craig Shikuma MEDICAL DIRECTOR $112,463
30 Sally Ishikawa DIRECTOR OF NURSING $110,514
31 Miles Takaaze VP COMN/PUBLIC AFFAIRS DIR $108,283
32 Cathy Meyer-Uyehara HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR $106,875
33 Myra Ornellas HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR $105,852
34 Earl Bethke DIR OF TECHNICAL SVCS $104,500
35 Boyd Murayama ASST ADMR MEDICAL GRP PRAC DIR $104,240
36 Michael Perel ASST ADMR/CHIEF FIN OFFCR $101,655
37 Ken Takeuchi ASST HOSPITAL ADMR $100,994
38 Annie Yonemoto DIR OF REVENUE MGT $99,619
39 Dennis Lee MEDICAL DIRECTOR $98,989
40 Charla Ota ASST GENERAL COUNSEL $95,760
41 Joseph Evanoff DIR OF CONTRACTS & MTRLS MGT $95,000
42 Garrett Oguma ASST ADMR/REG DIR OF FAC $93,860
43 Lance Anderson ASST HOSPITAL ADMR $93,100
44 Richelle Lu ATTORNEY $93,100
45 Marcy Rogers ASST ADMR QUALITY & CONT IMPR $93,100
46 Stephen Wada DIR OF REVENUE CYCLE & COMPL $92,942
47 Nona Wilson DIRECTOR OF NURSING $91,765
48 Margaret Daub DIRECTOR OF NURSING $91,577
49 Barbara Kahana DIR OF PROJ IMPL SUPT SVCS $91,200
50 Taylor Summers DIR OF APPLICATION SVCS $89,661

The salary data show that registered nurses employed by the HHSC earn a range of pay as low as $48,024 and as high as $122,340, depending on experience. By comparison, the average annual salary for registered nurses in Hawaii is $80,020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hawaii Health Systems Corp. employs 1,115 “RNs” — a fraction of the 8,930 registered nurses tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The salary information also shows that pharmacists with the HHSC — there’s 41 of them — earn a range of pay as low as $29,244 and as high as $98,748, depending on experience. Even the high-end of the range is lower than the average salary for pharmacists in Hawaii, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists as $106,230.

While the data from HHSC does not link employees with the facility they work at, HHSC said pay is consistent across its facilities, meaning an entry level nurses aide at Leahi Hospital in Honolulu would receive the same salary as a nurses aide with similar experience at Kona Community Hospital.

This is the full database of all 4,092 employees.

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