Top 20 hospitals by highest accrued salary expense

The increasing cost of labor at U.S. hospitals continues to be one of the biggest trends in healthcare.

How much do hospitals spend on employee salaries each year?

According to financial data from our HospitalView product, the average amount that a hospital paid in employee salaries increased by 46% between 2011 and 2020 --  from $67.1 million to $97.8 million.

Individual hospital salary expenses ranged from $250k a year to more than $3 billion, with a median value of $46.2 million in 2020. The annual average increase in spend was 4.4%. In comparison, total hospital operating expenses increased at about four percent year-over-year. These costs have risen in recent years, as the Covid-19 pandemic led to increased rates of physician burnout that culminated in staffing shortages across the the country. Hospitals and health systems continue to address these shortages through increased utilization of contract labor

The following table lists the hospitals with the highest accrued salary expenses, according to 2020 data from approximately 3,700 U.S. hospitals.

Hospitals with highest total accrued salary expenses in 2020

Rank 

Definitive ID 

Hospital Name 

Location 

Total Salary Expense 

541974 

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center 

New York, NY 

$3,396,938,625  

3120 

Cleveland Clinic Main Campus 

Cleveland, OH 

$2,606,390,970  

3742 

Vanderbilt University Medical Center 

Nashville, TN 

$2,299,701,848  

273024 

Montefiore Hospital - Moses Campus 

Bronx, NY 

$2,204,079,685  

2843 

Tisch Hospital 

New York, NY 

$2,147,992,042  

1973 

Massachusetts General Hospital 

Boston, MA 

$1,791,330,334  

588 

Stanford Hospital 

Stanford, CA 

$1,759,594,046  

560 

UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center at Parnassus Heights 

San Francisco, CA 

$1,611,636,807  

2828 

Long Island Jewish Medical Center 

New Hyde Park, NY 

$1,608,337,734  

10 

2824 

North Shore University Hospital 

Manhasset, NY 

$1,593,870,687  

11 

430 

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center 

Los Angeles, CA 

$1,477,422,406  

12 

2096 

University Hospital 

Ann Arbor, MI 

$1,397,002,568  

13 

873 

AdventHealth Orlando (FKA Florida Hospital Orlando) 

Orlando, FL 

$1,323,532,244  

14 

2837 

Mount Sinai Medical Center (AKA the Mount Sinai Hospital) 

New York, NY 

$1,234,023,618  

15 

1969 

Brigham and Womens Hospital 

Boston, MA 

$1,197,414,116  

16 

731 

Yale New Haven Hospital 

New Haven, CT 

$1,171,748,114  

17 

3975 

John Sealy Hospital 

Galveston, TX 

$1,171,334,451  

18 

515 

University of California Davis Medical Center (AKA UC Davis Medical Center) 

Sacramento, CA 

$1,169,697,061  

19 

596 

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center 

San Jose, CA 

$1,161,859,674  

20 

774 

Memorial Regional Hospital 

Hollywood, FL 

$1,142,377,788  

Fig. 1 - Data is from the Definitive Healthcare HospitalView product. Data is sourced from the Medicare Cost Report. The most recent data is through Q4 2020 and new data is released quarterly. Accessed June 2022.

Which hospitals have the highest employee salary expenses?

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, NY spent more than $3.3 billion on salary expenses in 2020. Next, the Cleveland Clinic campus in Cleveland, OH spent $2.6 billion and Vanderbilt University Medical Center spent $2.3 billion on salary expenses.

Not surprisingly, eleven of the top 20 hospitals with the highest salary expenses in the United States are located in California or New York. This directly correlates to both state’s population size and high cost of living.

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