Luis board hires CFO at $195,000 a year
Published: July 26, 2012
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ST. CROIX - The Luis Hospital board on Wednesday gave chief executive Jeff Nelson the go-ahead to hire board member Deepak Bansal as the hospital's chief financial officer.
Bansal abstained from voting on his own hiring, as did board member Dr. Gemaine Owen.
Bansal said he would let Gov. John deJongh Jr. know of his resignation from the hospital board this morning.
When he assumes the CFO position at Luis Hospital on Aug. 20, Bansal's salary will be $195,000 per year, Nelson said after the meeting. There was no public discussion of Bansal's salary by the board, although his hiring was discussed in executive session.
Board chairwoman Kai Walker said that Nelson and "his team" identified Bansal as the candidate of choice for the CFO job, after interviewing candidates from off-island and on-island.
"Mr. Bansal stood out among all the candidates," Walker said, citing Bansal's resume and his experience with Luis Hospital as part of the board and part of the board's Finance Committee.
According to the resume that the board provided, Bansal is the sole proprietor of his own accounting business on St. Croix and is the CFO of General Engineering Corp., or GEC, LLC.
His past experience includes working as a professor at the University of the Virgin Islands, working as an auditor in various capacities in Miami-Dade County, including as a hospital auditor in the internal audit department of the Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County, according to the resume.
His resume also says that he is a Certified Public Accountant.
Walker said that OK'ing the selection of Bansal as CFO was "a very difficult decision for the board" because board members rely on his financial expertise. She joined other members in congratulating him.
The most-recent salary listing The Daily News has for the hospital's chief financial officer position was in 2010, when Luis Hospital's then-CFO, Rosalie Javois, made $90,000 per year, according to information provided at the time by the V.I. Government's Personnel Division.
According to Nelson, the $195,000 salary that Bansal will make puts his compensation in the 50th percentile for hospitals of similar size in the U.S.
In other action, the board also approved proposed raises for the hospital's registered nurses.
The raises are part of a proposed collective bargaining agreement, the result of negotiations between the V.I. State Nurses Association and the territory's hospitals, the Health Department and the Office of Collective Bargaining, Nelson said.
The proposal also needs approval from Schneider Regional Medical Center's board and the governor, he said.
The proposed raises are significant.
For example, the starting salary for a hospital RN who has zero to two years of experience would jump from $47,800 to $63,000 under the proposal, Nelson said. Salaries would increase for RNs of all experience levels.
Nelson said that under the proposal, the average hospital RN salary would go from approximately $51,000 to $72,000.
The proposed new salary levels for nurses would be retroactive to October, he said.
The idea behind the increase is to provide a competitive salary for local nurses and to reduce the hospital's reliance on traveling nurses, Nelson said. Traveling nurses are much more expensive for the hospital than staff nurses.
The money to pay the higher salaries for the nurses, officials said, would come from the savings in fees paid to traveling nurse companies.
Luis Hospital has set a goal of reducing its reliance on traveling nurses by 90 percent by the end of the year.
The board also approved the hospital setting up a nonprofit organization as part of a program aimed at improving access to health care and addressing uncompensated care. The nonprofit would provide a means for accepting tax-deductible donations for the program, which is being called Healthy Access.
The board also discussed the hospital's financial problems and accepted reports from hospital officials.