Heart doctors at Allina Hospitals & Clinics, Minneapolis, earn more than twice the average salary of U.S. cardiologists, the Star Tribune reported.
And those compensation levels may be so high that the hospital system's not-for-profit status could be in jeopardy, according to a confidential report by a consulting firm the system hired.
The Star Tribune said it recently obtained the report.
Allina, whose hospitals include Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, has some of the top-rated cardiologists in the country, the newspaper noted. Company officials told the newspaper that what its cardiologists earn is appropriate.
Under federal regulations, not-for-profit organizations like Allina are required to set their employee salaries at reasonable levels.
The general cardiologists employed by Allina, many of whom practice at Abbott Northwestern's new heart hospital, earn an average salary of $586,000, plus a package of retirement and other benefits valued at about $143,000 a year, the Star Tribune reported.
The report prepared last year by Clark Consulting, North Barrington, Ill., a firm that advises companies on compensation, said Allina cardiologists are less productive than U.S. heart specialists in general. By comparison, physicians who work in Allina's high-tech catheter labs are paid amounts closer to national averages and score high on standard productivity measures, according to the report.
Allina officials declined to comment on the specifics of the Clark study. Instead, they told the Star Tribune that when all factors are considered, Allina cardiology pay does not present legal or regulatory problems for the health system.