President's Message

Advocacy Focus: Executive Compensation Initiative

As HASC continues its journey to achieve goals aligned with our strategic priorities, I would like to use this platform to keep you informed every step of the way. More than ever, the health care landscape comprises winding roads that require detours, removing obstacles and creating alternate plans. I aim to keep you apprised of how HASC navigates the path ahead.

As we recently encountered several local city initiatives in which labor unions attempted to misuse the ballot box as a form of negotiation, we recognized the need to increase our advocacy focus on at-risk cities within the HASC region. The HASC team identified local advocacy with these cities as a strategic priority and developed plans to counter harmful initiatives and educate local policymakers.

One such harmful initiative, submitted by Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) to the Los Angeles City Council, would place limits on health care executive compensation within the city.

Last week, a Los Angeles judge denied a request by the California Hospital Association (CHA) and HASC to invalidate SEIU-UHW’s petition for the March 2024 ballot. CHA and HASC had filed a lawsuit in Superior Court challenging the measure, claiming that it presented false information to voters and was, therefore, invalid. Specifically, we argued that the measure inaccurately listed the U.S. president’s salary as $450,000 per year, the basis of the initiative’s limit for hospital executives. In fact, the president’s “salary” also includes many other types of compensation that if totaled exceed over $1.2 million. Unfortunately, the judge ruled that the initiative’s text, which referred to a single federal statute regarding the president’s salary, was accurate and did not warrant invalidation.

If passed, this measure will make it more challenging to recruit qualified health care leaders to ensure high-quality care is provided at Los Angeles hospitals. Qualified leaders hold extremely complex roles in ensuring their hospitals provide the best care. They must recruit and retain top-notch doctors, nurses and other health care workers and set up systems to provide the best quality care, all while keeping services affordable for patients.

Once the measure has officially qualified for the ballot, the LA city council can either adopt the measure as an ordinance or refer it to the 2024 ballot. We are urging the council to refer this measure to the ballot rather than pass it directly as an ordinance. SEIU-UHW filed it as an initiative, so we believe the voters should have the ultimate say in the matter.

HASC and CHA are fully engaged with the issue, and our team is at work developing a comprehensive strategy to defeat this initiative. As we continue keeping you in the loop on this issue and others, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or the HASC team, anytime with questions or concerns. Know that we’re here for you.

Take care and stay safe.

George G.