All nonprofit universities must file Form 990 with the IRS each year. This form discloses the financial health of the organization including its assets, lobbying activities, and fundraising practices. Tucked away in Schedule J, the university must also reveal the salaries of the leaders and its five highest-compensated employees.
BU made its form available on the web, an admirable act of transparency. Page 61 lists the salaries, deferred compensation, and nontaxable benefits of 15 key employees. Seven of them are affiliated with the medical campus.
The highest paid active employee on the BU payroll is Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel, Chief of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, who earned $1,282,130. From his website, it looks like Dr. Spiegel is an active researcher and clinician who offers everything from brow lifts to facial feminization. Timothy Foster, an orthopedic surgeon, earned $1,072,930–nearly $30,000 more than the university president.
The procedures these surgeons perform clearly generate sufficient revenue to justify their salaries. In some cases, they may be accepting a pay cut to work in an academic medical center. There’s no reason to suspect a scandal. To the contrary, if all employees’ salaries were made publicly available, it would clear up rumors and provide a clear guide to what the institution values.
For reports from other universities and hospitals, consult GuideStar.