Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors put off for one week a request by Sup. Michael Antonovich to ask the State Auditor to evaluate the pay structure of one of the county’s largest non-profit health care providers.
Antonovich’s motion was made in response to a March 1st CBS 2 news report that called into question a large pay hike received by Cástulo de la Rocha, the president and CEO of AltaMed Health Services Corporation, at the same time the Commerce based provider is seeking to stop the state from cutting funding to adult day care centers.
According to CBS 2 Investigative Reporter Dave Bryan, in 2008 AltaMed’s Board of Directors approved raising de la Rocha’s total compensation package, which includes salary, bonuses and other benefits, from $396,000 a year to $797,429; a $400,000 increase.
AltaMed Health Services is one of the county’s largest “Private-Public Partners,” and Antonovich says he wants to make sure that taxpayer funds are being used “wisely.”
“This salary is very high and the increase over a two-year period is significant. Of particular concern is that this agency’s revenue is, in large part, based on public taxpayer dollars,” reads Antonovich’s motion.
During de la Rocha’s leadership over the last three decades, AltaMed has grown from a small East Los Angeles area health clinic to a $183,000 million dollar-a-year health care network with more than three dozen medical and dental clinics in Los Angeles and Orange County and seven adult day health care centers serving some of the region’s most vulnerable low-income residents,
De la Rocha defended his salary to CBS’ Bryan, saying it was AltaMed’s board of directors that approved the raise, which is “within the reasonable standards that are expected by the Internal Revenue Services.” He said he has spent 33 years building AltaMed.
In a written statement to CBS, the non-profit’s board of directors expressed support for their decision and de la Rocha’s tenure at the head of the organization.
“The board is confident that the CEO’s compensation is not only in line with industry norms, it is well deserved by this talented and tireless chief executive, who has devoted his professional life to building a network that employs nearly 1,900 professionals and annually serves the health care needs of close to 150,000 low-income patients,” the statement said.
Antonovich wants the Board to send a letter to the “Office of the State Auditor requesting the Bureau of State Audits to conduct an evaluation of the pay structure of this agency to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent appropriately.”