Last year, MODERN HEALTHCARE reported on how Thomas F. Frist Jr., M.D., made headlines when Business Week and the Wall Street Journal ranked him as America's highest-paid corporate executive.
The former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Hospital Corporation of America took home $127 million in 1992, although nearly all that money was derived from his cash-in of HCA stock options. At the time, industry executives defended the compensation because it was based primarily on stock gains rather than money generated from hospital revenues (March 29, p. 3).
It would be interesting to discover what Dr. Frist's pay was in 1993. Unfortunately, MODERN HEALTHCARE couldn't find out. The reason? Dr. Frist's 1993 pay isn't being revealed, according to Columbia executives.
"To the best of my knowledge, that won't be a disclosed number," said Lee Wood, Columbia/HCA's investor relations director.
Even though Dr. Frist is the chairman of Columbia/HCA, his compensation isn't listed in the hospital chain's proxy statement.
The proxy includes only Columbia executives' compensation because Columbia and HCA were separate organizations at the end of the fiscal year, Dec. 31. Dr. Frist was not an employee of Columbia at the time, so his pay is not included, Mr. Wood explained. Columbia merged with HCA in February 1994, creating the nation's largest non-government hospital chain. The proxy includes only Columbia executives because "Columbia was deemed to be the surviving corporation," Mr. Wood added.
By the time HCA would have had its own shareholder meeting, it had already merged with Columbia.
At HCA, Dr. Frist made $600,000 in salary and $468,000 in bonuses in 1992. That's more than Columbia/HCA's president and CEO, Richard Scott, who pulled in $371,000 in salary and $350,000 in bonuses in 1993, according to the proxy.