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UHD board OKs pay raise for Lang

By Staff | Apr 11, 2011

Jeff Lang

In a unanimous vote on Tuesday, United Hospital District board members gave their CEO a $22,000 pay hike.

Board chairman Dennis Zitnak says UHD’s compensation committee met on April 4 to review job performance information obtained from medical staff, senior leaders within the organization and board members.

Zitnak says scores Jeff Lang attained on the evaluations were “good to excellent.”

“Overall, the comments came back very, very positive. I think that says a lot of our administrator,” Zitnak says.

Lang’s annual base salary will go from $163,000 to $185,000, a jump of nearly 13.5 percent. That does not include fringe benefits.

One board member, who asked not to be identified, called the increase “outrageous,” even though Lang may deserve a raise.

“They (board members) lose sight of all the workers and people in the background that help him attain his goals,” says the board member. “Unfortunately, it had to do more with politics.”

This isn’t the first time Lang has received a hefty raise.

In 2007, he was hired at an annual salary of $125,000. That was bumped up to $132,000 the next year in addition to getting a bonus of $8,594.

In 2009, Lang’s base salary went up $13,200 and he was given a bonus for the same amount.

Last year, bonuses were discontinued, however, the base salary went from $145,200 to $163,000. Lang also received a $9,982 bonus for achieving goals for 2009.

The committee reviewed 2009 CEO compensation survey data from the Minnesota Hospital Association and Van Norman and Associates to help them with their recommendation.The market data showed critical access hospitals in Minnesota, like UHD, having expense budgets of $20 to $29 million annually, paid annual salaries of $183,307 and $195,000, respectively.

“The committee also discussed what it would cost to replace a current administrator,” says Zitnak.

Increasing Lang’s base salary puts him around the 50th percentile, which the compensation committee believes is consistent with the board’s philosophy of being market competitive.

“We did not want to keep falling behind in compensation. We have been behind all along,” says Zitnak.

The administator’s evaluation covered 54 different leadership qualities in seven categories.

Lang’s “major strengths” were listed as:

• responds to the needs of the board;

• advancing and communicating the mission and vision of UHD;

• planning and implementing appropriate plans — he gets the job done;

• skilled problem-solver with high energy.

Areas needing further development included:

• appropriate balance of information to the board;

• continue to improve in public speaking;

• personal/professional development — take time for learning.

Two areas offering improvement opportunities involve listening to diverse views and showing genuine concern for others well-being.

In other business, the board was updated on possible changes coming to UHD’s storage of medical records.

Fourteen months ago, the district joined SISU to share information technology with 16 other medical centers.

Belonging to the network initially cost UHD $132,804 annually, however, that has gone up significantly because some of the members have pulled out.

For this year the membership fee increased to $212,000.

Lang says there’s speculation two more medical facilities could leave SISU. If that happens, UHD would have to pay even more.

Lang told the board the fee could rise to $227,000 for 2012.

Lang says SISU’s board is expected to address the issue at its May 13 meeting and develop a plan. He will update the UHD board at its next meeting.

Some of the benefits the district receives from SISU include information technology for strategic and project planning; license discounts; group purchasing opportunities; and in-house services, resources and expertise.