‘Disturbing’ salary and bonuses at Valley Children’s Hospital: Councilmembers want investigation

‘Disturbing’ salary and bonuses at Valley Children’s Hospital: Councilmembers want investigation

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Following the discovery that the CEO of Valley Children’s Hospital earned a bonus of $2 million in 2020, Fresno City Councilmembers Miguel Arias and Garry Bredefeld branded the salaries of both hospital CEO Todd Suntrapak and the wider board “excessive.”

The councilmembers detailed what they called “disturbing revelations” Wednesday morning inside Fresno City Hall.

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“There is a clear culture of enriching themselves at the expense of sick and poor children,” said Bredefeld.

Bredefeld specifically called for a state investigation into the executive salary structure at Valley Children’s Hospital.

“I’m calling for California Attorney General Rob Bonta to investigate how these state dollars are being spent and to determine what changes need to take place to ensure money is being spent appropriately on sick and poor children – and no longer misused to enrich the CEO and his executives,” Bredefeld says.

Bredefeld said comparing the total salary for the CEO of Valley Children’s Hospital Todd Suntrapak with the CEO salaries of similar children’s hospitals across California and the United States showed Suntrapak was receiving an “exorbitant and unjustifiable” compensation package.

Tax documents available on the IRS’s website and on ProPublica’s Nonprofit Explorer show the CEO salaries of similar hospitals across the country – which can be compared with Valley Children’s CEO Todd Suntrapak’s combined salary of $5.5 million in fiscal year 2020. The combined salary figure reported includes base compensation, bonus, other reportable compensation, retirement or other deferred compensation – and “nontaxable” benefits.

The CEO’s salaries as reported on the tax documents are:

“Nowhere near consistent with the industry standards…it is an absolute outrage and it’s a disgrace that this CEO and his executives are enriching themselves on the backs of sick and poor children,” said Bredefeld.

Tax documents for the fiscal year 2021 submitted to the IRS by Valley Children’s Hospital also show a loan to CEO Todd Suntrapak “for residence as a retention incentive in lieu of other compensation” totaling $5 million. The tax document shows the loan was “approved by the board or committee.”

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Bredefeld highlighted how he helped raise money for Valley Children’s Hospital as part of their annual Kids Day fundraiser.

“I stood in the rain on Kids Day with hundreds of other people asking people to buy newspapers for $2 in order to support the hospital,” said Bredefeld. “So it saddens me to have to address what is evident.”

Councilmember Miguel Arias described it as his responsibility to hold a local healthcare nonprofit organization accountable when it receives billions of dollars of public funds but fails to serve its community.

“I’m asking for the Joint Legislative Audit Committee and will be submitting this in writing to its member of the Central Valley Assemblymember Jim Patterson, to launch an audit of Valley Children’s Hospital and its expenditures of Medi-Cal funds”, said Arias.

In a statement in response to that request, Assemblymember Jim Patterson said that the state has “no authority to demand information on the executive salary and compensation of a private, non-profit,” adding that any audit would only focus on programs and funding the Hospital receives from the state.

In response to the revelations about the salary structure itself, Valley Children’s Hospital said the Central Valley “has built one of the nation’s premier children’s hospitals” and retained “some of America’s best executives.”

“The Central Valley has built one of the nation’s premier children’s hospitals. In doing so, we have recruited and retained some of America’s best executives, caregivers and team members. As such, the quality of our care and the fiscal management of our organization is – and continues to be – best in class.”

Michael Hanson, Chair, Valley Children’s Healthcare Board of Trustees

The document provided to YourCentralValley.com showing how Valley Children’s Hospital CEO Todd Suntrapak’s salary and bonus was calculated can be viewed by clicking here.

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