Accusations of financial misconduct brought up against Medical School professor Dr. Bernardo Nadal-Ginard have raised questions of whether doctors who practice at Harvard's teaching hospitals regularly skirt the salary guidelines established by the Medical School.
According to The Boston Globe, physicians avoided the guidelines by deferring compensation in the form of benefits and contributions to pension plans.
In addition to his salary, Nadal-Ginard, Nadas professor of pediatrics at the Medical School and chief of cardiology at Children's Hospital, received more than $500,000 per year in deferred compensation.
According to a statement released by Margaret H. Marshall, vice president and general counsel, "Harvard Medical School establishes guidelines for annual rates of pay including maximums for various faculty ranks."
Marshall did not comment on the specific numbers mentioned by The Boston Globe yesterday: $340,750 for a professor, $271,300 for an associate professor and $242,000 for an assistant professor.
Dr. Abdul K. Abbas, associate professor of pathology at the Medical School, said that "most [faculty] don't get a direct salary from the Medical School." Instead, said Abbas, doctors receive their salaries from affiliated institutions such as hospitals, or from private practices and research grants.
"Honoraria or royalties are not included in the rates of pay. Also, not included are fringe benefits such as health, life, disability and pension plan contributions," added Marshall in the statement from Marshall.
When Nadal-Ginard cashed in his pension from the Boston Children's Heart Foundation, of which he was president and treasurer, he had more than four million dollars, said the Globe.
However, according to a lawsuit filed by the foundation, this pension plan was never adopted by the other directors. Laura Steinberg, Nadal-Ginard's lawyer, told The Globe that the directors of the foundation did vote to accept the plan.
Nadal-Ginard is also under investigation for having diverted more than $100,000 from the cardiology group's revenue to add to his personal art collection.
Harvard is unlike most medical schools nationwide in that it limits salaries, according to The Globe. But the guidelines have no legal authority and are enforced by the honor system alone.
According to Marshall's statement, guidelines apply "to only a small fraction of our faculty since most are paid substantially less than this amount." Two medical school physi- Cians agreed that they did not believe theirsalaries were in any danger of exceedingguidelines.
In fact, several faculty members who spoke toThe Crimson were unaware of the specificguidelines.
Abbas said the guidelines were not officiallyspelled out to him. "I've been on the faculty for12, 14 years, and if they were spelled out I maywell have forgotten them."
Harvard's traditional salary structure raisesquestions of whether affiliated hospitals canattract and satisfy medical superstars.
"I think that it's appropriate to have salaryguidelines. I don't think they do interfere withthe recruitment of good physicians or scientists,"said Dr. Baruj Benacerraf, Fabyan professor ofcomparative pathology.
"I think [salary guidelines are] quiteappropriate so that salaries are comparable toeach other for levels of competence andperformance," said Benacerraf.
Kevin M. Davis contributed to the reportingof this article