Healthcare compensation survey: Lincare, Wellcare execs are big winners
Wake up and good morning. It's one big payday after another for some Tampa Bay area executives in the healthcare field. According to just published Modern Healthcare magazine's annual nationwide compensation survey, the big winners in executive pay for 2008 include John P. Byrnes, CEO of Clearwater-based home oxygen provider Lincare Holdings, who moved up to the top spot among specialty-care providers thanks to the largest gain in 2008 from exercising stock options of any CEO on the list. His total compensation was $11.7 million.
Byrnes earned the top spot among specialty providers because he had the highest proceeds in 2008 from exercising stock options, at nearly $8.5 million. Byrnes can thank his long tenure at Lincare, having become its CEO in January 1997 and joining the board of directors in May of that year, Modern Healthcare said. Byrnes declined to comment for the magazine story.
Another winner in the survey was Todd Farha (in photo), the former CEO of Tampa's WellCare Health Plans. According to Modern Healthcare, for less than one full month at the helm in 2008, Farha took home $3.5 million, largely by cashing out stock options before he left the company. Farha received no severance or golden parachute when he left WellCare, according to company filings, and got just $17,223 at his time of exit, in unused vacation pay. He still managed to spend $16,000 in housing and car expenses in New York in January before his resignation, according to company financial statements, Modern Healthcare reported. (Farha photo by Ken Helle of the St. Petersburg Times.)
Farha still could receive up to 130,000 unvested company shares under a 2005 agreement, provided he meets certain criteria, which likely will be determined by the outcome of pending state and federal investigations. Farha was replaced by Heath Schiesser as the company's top executive three months after the FBI raided WellCare's Tampa headquarters in October 2007. (And this last line, clarified from the original posting): Schiesser earlier this summer announced plans to leave Wellcare once the board of directors has selected a successor.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist