Struggling NYC hospital pays fat salaries despite staffing problems

Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn — which is hemorrhaging tens of millions of dollars and facing complaints of severe understaffing and a decline in care — is paying its CEO and five other top medical brass seven-figure salaries, The Post has learned.

Maimonides’ CEO Kenneth Gibbs saw his compensation skyrocket from $1.8 million to $3.2 million from 2019 to 2020, when the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the facility, according to not-for-profit financial records filed with the IRS.

Sources also questioned Gibbs’ presence at the hospital during the pandemic — he was recorded as voting absentee from his residence in Old Chatham, NY in the upstate Berkshires in November 2020, not from his Central Park West apartment.

Meanwhile, Jacob Shani, chief of heart surgery received $3.5 million; Patrick Borgen, department of surgery, $2 million; Greg Ribakove, chair of cardiothoracic surgery, $1.8 million; Robert Frankel, director of interventional cardiology, $1.7 million; and Alex Shaknovich, cardiologist, $1.7 million, records show.

“It looks terrible,” one hospital industry source said.

Maimonides Medical Center
Maimonides said it is working “tirelessly” to maintain quality medical care “while addressing staff turnover.”
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Maimonides is Brooklyn’s largest hospital serving Borough Park, Midwood and other sections of southern Brooklyn. It delivers more babies than any hospital in the city.

A Maimonides spokesperson admitted that the hospital is paying these large salaries and benefits despite experiencing “depressed inpatient and outpatient volume as well as increased costs, resulting in a net loss of $64.6 million through Q2 2021, and an operating budget projection of a $19.5 million loss for 2022.”

State records show the number of Maimonides patients treated and discharged dropped from 35,000 in 2019 to 30,000 in 2020.

“As Brooklyn’s largest hospital, we are committed to serving those in need during these trying and unpredictable times,” the hospital rep said.

Meanwhile, even Maimonides’ busy birthing unit is understaffed, the nurses’ union said.

“With 4 verses [mother and baby] I am able to provide care to both mother and baby. Unfortunately, on the night shift, I have a caseload of 6 verses. That’s why I call the RN staffing ‘very poor’ in the unit,” said Maimonides baby unit nurse Michelle Williams.

“To care for all the mothers and babies, we sometimes have to split the work. With couplets split up, I have ended up with as many as 15 babies assigned to me. This is wrong, because we run a risk of not getting all necessary care to the babies,” she added.

Maimonides Medical Center
The number of Maimonides patients treated and discharged dropped from 35,000 in 2019 to 30,000 in 2020.
Getty Images

The New York State Nurses Association held a rally outside the hospital last week, accusing the hospital of dangerous understaffing.

At the same time, sources in Borough Park said more residents with means are now going for planned surgeries at hospitals in Manhattan rather than Maimonides, citing a decline in quality.

Maimonides received only a 1 star rating out of 5 in the most recent federal government report card for patient satisfaction report card and 2 out of 5 or overall care.

Through a spokesperson, the hospital defended Gibbs’ compensation and insisted the massive jump was the result of a reporting requirement and said his salary is “on par with counterparts” and is “well below” top dogs at the city’s largest public hospitals.

“Ken’s salary did not increase from 2019 to 2020; the increase in compensation reported on the 2020 Form 990 reflects a one-time payment pursuant to the terms of a supplemental executive retirement plan that occurred due to his vesting in the plan after five years of employment,” the spokesperson said.

The hospital rep insisted Gibbs, whose main address is Central Park West, was hands-on and at Maimonides during the worst of the pandemic.

“Ken voted via absentee ballot based on his secondary address in Old Chatham but has lived in New York City and worked at the hospital throughout the pandemic, including 7 days a week during the height of the Spring 2020 surge,” the rep insisted.

Maimonides Medical Center
The New York State Nurses Association held a rally outside the hospital last week, accusing the hospital of dangerous understaffing.
Paul Martinka

A source said he voted from his second address to help Democrat Antonio Delgado get elected to Congress in the Hudson Valley region.

Maimonides also defended the seven-figure pay for its top docs, saying it is “one of the top rated heart and vascular care centers in the nation.”

“Providing that care is only possible through recruiting world-class physicians, and we are committed to retaining the best clinicians possible, including doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, to serve the Brooklyn community,” the hospital spokesperson said.

In its statement, Maimonides also said it is working “tirelessly” to maintain quality medical care “while addressing staff turnover and industry-wide shortages related to the pandemic.”

Maimonides said it has hired 140 new nurses over the past four months “to mitigate any staffing shortfalls” and enlisted several new “nurse educators” to train and support the new staffers.

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