Atrium Health reveals what its top executives were paid in 2017

Atrium Health CEO Gene Woods, center, is shown in this file photo. On Thursday, the Charlotte-based hospital system disclosed what Woods and other top executives were paid in 2017.
Atrium Health CEO Gene Woods, center, is shown in this file photo. On Thursday, the Charlotte-based hospital system disclosed what Woods and other top executives were paid in 2017.

Atrium Health CEO Gene Woods made $5.4 million in total compensation last year, his first full year leading the Charlotte-based hospital system, according to data released Thursday.

The figure includes a salary of $1.6 million and a bonus of more than $3 million. Woods started work with the system in April 2016 and received $1.7 million in total compensation, including a salary of $828,110 and a bonus of $500,000, during that year.

Woods, 53, also made less in 2017 than predecessor Michael Tarwater did in his last full year as CEO. That year, 2015, Tarwater received $6.6 million in total compensation, though the system said part of Tarwater’s package was related to his pending retirement.

Thursday’s report also provides a look at what each of the top 10 executives at Atrium were paid in 2017.

All 10 earned at least $1.2 million in total compensation, and some earned more than $2.3 million. Every executive was given a bonus that ranged from $270,000, on the low end, to a $3.2 million for Woods.

Atrium, a public nonprofit that this month changed its name from Carolinas HealthCare System, releases executive compensation data every year as part of a process outlined by state law.

In a statement, Atrium said a committee of the system’s board of commissioners sets executive compensation, and that the committee follows a rigorous process consistent with best practices for tax-exempt organizations. The committee also uses independent third-party advisers to help compare compensation at organizations of similar size, scope and complexity, Atrium said.

In addition, incentive compensation is tied to goals that align the work of Atrium executives with the interests of patients, the system said, noting that compensation for the top 10 equals less than 1 percent of total compensation for all Atrium employees.

Meanwhile Atrium, which had nearly $10 billion in net revenue in 2016, is seeking to slash labor costs across its Charlotte-area hospitals as part of a broad push to become more efficient, the Observer reported Thursday.

Responding to questions about the plans, Atrium said 90 people have been laid off since November when job cuts from the initiative began. That’s less than 1 percent of Atrium’s regional workforce of 38,000. The cuts come as Atrium works to find $300 million in savings under its “Destination 2020” strategic plan.

Atrium is the largest hospital system in the Charlotte region and is seeking to get larger through pending deals that would combine Atrium with Chapel Hill’s UNC Health Care and Georgia’s Navicent Health.

Atrium’s biggest rival in the Charlotte area is Winston-Salem-based Novant Health, also a nonprofit.

In Novant’s latest executive compensation disclosures, the system in November said CEO Carl Armato saw his compensation rise more than 16 percent in 2016. Armato was awarded a total of $3.4 million, including a salary of $1.3 million and bonus and incentive compensation of $1.4 million. The rest included retirement payments, insurance and other benefits.

As a nonprofit, Atrium receives tax breaks in exchange for community benefits like indigent care, for which it gets no compensation. In 2016, the system said it provided $1.74 billion in uncompensated care.

Also Thursday, Atrium noted it increased its minimum wage to $11.50 last year from $10. Novant said last year it was raising the lowest hourly pay for its North Carolina workers to $11 per hour, up from the state minimum of $7.25.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

Executive compensation

Below are the 10 Atrium Health executives awarded the most in total compensation in 2017, as well hospital presidents and their 2017 compensation, from disclosures the Charlotte-based system released Thursday.


▪  Gene Woods, CEO, $5,380,055

▪  Greg Gombar, chief financial officer, $2,486,819

▪  Roger Ray, chief physician executive, $2,309,197

▪  Debra Plousha Moore, system chief of staff, $1,753,048

▪  Dennis Phillips, executive vice president of Metro Group, $1,736,787

▪  Craig Richardville, chief information and analytics officer, $1,644,642

▪  Terry Akin, CEO of Cone Health, $1,622,055

▪  Keith Smith, general counsel, $1,545,870

▪  Carol Lovin, chief strategy officer, $1,432,322

▪  James Hunter, chief medical officer, $1,178,886

Hospital presidents

▪  Spencer Lilly, Carolinas Medical Center, $1,132,958

▪  Phyllis Wingate, CHS NorthEast, $1,115,661

▪  Christopher Hummer, CHS Pineville, $815,819

▪  Michael Lutes, CHS Union, $734,873

▪  Brian Gwyn, CHS Cleveland, $697,573

▪  William Leonard, CHS University, $601,787

▪  Peter Acker, CHS Lincoln, $542,848

▪  Robert Larrison, Carolinas Rehabilitation, $502,885

▪  Brian Freeman, CHS Stanly, $275,218