Are Fat Hospital Salaries for Doctors Really Kickbacks?

Abstract: For a hospital that had once labored to break even, Wheeling Hospital displayed abnormally deep pockets when recruiting doctors. To lure Dr. Adam Tune, an anesthesiologist from nearby Pittsburgh who specialized in pain management, the Catholic hospital built a clinic for him to run on its campus in Wheeling, West Virginia. It paid Tune as much as $1.2 million a year—well above the salaries of 90 percent of pain management physicians across the nation, the federal government charged in a lawsuit filed this spring. “If we’re going to solve the health care pricing problem, these kinds of practices are going to have to go away,” said Dr. Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute, a Massachusetts nonprofit that advocates for affordable care.