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Sonoma Valley Hospital board bumps CEO pay

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Citing her exemplary record, the Sonoma Valley Health Care District board unanimously agreed to a 6 percent salary bump for Sonoma Valley Hospital Chief Executive Officer Kelly Mather, bringing her total salary for the 2013 fiscal year to $298,061. Mather also earned a bonus of $24,534 for meeting specific incentive goals directed by the board.

“I’m delighted to let everyone know we are extremely satisfied with Kelly’s performance,” said Boardmember Jane Hirsch, during Thursday’s meeting of the board.

The board held two closed-session meetings to evaluate Mather’s performance and discuss compensation, which were not opened to the public because they pertained to personnel matters. Prior to those meetings, all five board members, along with nine members of the hospital’s leadership team, including Marin General Hospital Chief Executive Officer Lee Domanico and Medical Executive Team Chair Dr. Jerome Smith, took a 57-question survey that covered 20 categories related to job performance.

“It was an evaluation system Kelly (Mather) brought over from Sutter,” said board Chair Bill Boerum, explaining that Mather used to work as an administrator for Sutter Health. “She also did a self evaluation, so we had a lot of data to look at during our review.”

Boardmember Peter Hohorst said Mather earned “strong performance or higher” on a majority of questions, which led the board to agree on the pay raise. Additionally, they found that a salary of $298,061 brought Mather into market rate with CEOs at other district hospitals of a similar size and location, according to the Executive Compensation Report compiled for the California Hospital Association, the Hospital Council of Northern California and two other hospital associations in the state.

“We want to make sure we keep an executive of her caliber,” said Boerum.

The bonus stemmed from a complex matrix of incentive goals set forth last year by the board. Covering everything from patient volume to employee satisfaction, each category was weighted and carried a monetary value. Mather presented her updates monthly, and by the end of the year had met enough goals to earn bonus of $24,531, “Which we’re very happy to hand over,” Boerum said.

Mather suggested a similar management incentive compensation plan that would allow 18 hospital leaders to receive bonus of up to $3,000 for managers and $6,000 should the hospital increase net income by $1 million or more. These leaders can also receive bonuses for reaching specific goals in their departments, set forth by the hospital administration.

The total cost to the hospital in bonuses, should every staff member meet every eligible goal, would be $117,000.

“It’s always a controversial subject, whether to give incentive compensation. It is the norm at most North Bay hospitals,” Mather said at the Sept. 5 health care district board meeting, during which the plan was unveiled. On Oct. 3, the board unanimously approved that plan. Hohorst said the hospital asked staff members to take a pay cut during the recession, making the management incentive program “fully justified.”