Valley Children’s claims CEO’s salary is “in line” with industry. Tax records prove otherwise.

Even when excluding Valley Children’s CEO Todd Suntrapak’s bonuses and benefits, he continues to outpace comparable CEOs in both base pay and total compensation.

After two weeks of relative silence to criticism over the heightened pay of Valley Children’s Hospital CEO Todd Suntrapak and a roster of executives, Healthcare Board Chair Michael Hanson said Suntrapak’s salary is in line with other comparable healthcare executives. 

However, a review of comparable children’s hospital CEOs throughout California reveals that claim to be far from reality.


The big picture: Hanson – the former Fresno Unified School District superintendent – wrote a letter to the Fresno City Council on Wednesday alleging media misinformation and noting, in part, that Suntrapak’s annual salary since July 2020 is $1,711,341, “which is in line with other health system CEOs with similar levels of responsibility,” he wrote. 

  • The rest of Suntrapak’s compensation largely consists of performance bonuses, Hanson said. 
  • Hanson also said the $5.1 million total compensation reported on the 2021 tax return for Suntrapak is because the hospital handed out performance bonuses a month earlier than normal in 2021 at the recommendation of its accounting firm, resulting in inflated totals. 

By the numbers: Looking at the salaries that other children’s hospital CEOs makes paints a different picture than what Hanson said. 

  • According to the 2021 tax returns, Valley Children’s paid Suntrapak a base salary of nearly $1.7 million. 
  • Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles CEO Paul Viviano received a base salary of $1.07 million in 2021. 
  • Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego paid CEO Patrick Frias a base salary of $1.08 million. 
  • Children’s Hospital of Orange County gave CEO Kimberly Cripe a base salary of $1.07 million. 
  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford paid CEO Paul King $1.09 million as a base salary. 
  • Suntrapak’s base salary is also significantly larger than James Downing’s, who is the CEO of St. Jude Children’s Resarch Hospital. Tax returns show that Downing received a base salary of $1.19 million in 2021. 

Go deeper: Suntrapak’s $1.7 million base salary is more in line with the total compensation packages that his colleagues at other children’s hospitals are receiving. 

  • Viviano received a totel compensation package of $1.74 million, which includes all bonuses and benefits. 
  • Frias had his total compensation set at $1.7 million while Cripe received a total of $1.87 million in 2021. 
  • King’s total compensation was $2.46 million in 2021. 
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