Healthcare Insights

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 Explore dataset
541974 NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center New York, NY $3,396,938,625  Explore
3120 Cleveland Clinic Main Campus Cleveland, OH $2,606,390,970  Explore
3742 Vanderbilt University Medical Center Nashville, TN $2,299,701,848  Explore
273024 Montefiore Hospital - Moses Campus Bronx, NY $2,204,079,685  Explore
2843 Tisch Hospital New York, NY $2,147,992,042  Explore
1973 Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA $1,791,330,334  Explore
588 Stanford Hospital Stanford, CA $1,759,594,046  Explore
560 UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center at Parnassus Heights San Francisco, CA $1,611,636,807  Explore
2828 Long Island Jewish Medical Center New Hyde Park, NY $1,608,337,734  Explore
10 2824 North Shore University Hospital Manhasset, NY $1,593,870,687  Explore
11 430 Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Los Angeles, CA $1,477,422,406  Explore
12 2096 University Hospital Ann Arbor, MI $1,397,002,568  Explore
13 873 AdventHealth Orlando (FKA Florida Hospital Orlando) Orlando, FL $1,323,532,244  Explore
14 2837 Mount Sinai Medical Center (AKA the Mount Sinai Hospital) New York, NY $1,234,023,618  Explore
15 1969 Brigham and Womens Hospital Boston, MA $1,197,414,116  Explore
16 731 Yale New Haven Hospital New Haven, CT $1,171,748,114  Explore
17 3975 John Sealy Hospital Galveston, TX $1,171,334,451  Explore
18 515 University of California Davis Medical Center (AKA UC Davis Medical Center) Sacramento, CA $1,169,697,061  Explore
19 596 Santa Clara Valley Medical Center San Jose, CA $1,161,859,674  Explore
20 774 Memorial Regional Hospital Hollywood, FL $1,142,377,788  Explore

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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