Tampa General Hospital has extended the contract of its nationally recognized president and CEO, John Couris, for an additional 10 years.
The board offered the extension and Couris, hired in 2017 after a stint as CEO of Jupiter Medical Center on the state’s east coast, accepted, according to a statement.
“We are extremely pleased to extend John’s agreement for another 10 years,” TGH Board Chair Phil Dingle says in the release. “His vision, approach to innovation, people-focused leadership style, ability to deliver financial stability and growth, and steady hand since assuming the CEO role in 2017 — including leading us through a global pandemic — gives us the utmost confidence Tampa General will continue its extraordinary progress under his leadership.”
Couris, 55, had a salary of $1.94 million in 2020, according to the most recent tax filings from Tampa General, a nonprofit hospital. TGH, with 1,040 beds, reported $1.57 billion in revenue in 2020, the tax filings show. That’s up 30.83% from $1.2 billion in 2016. It has 8,135 employees.
Couris has company among hospital CEOs in the region getting 10-year contract extensions. David Verinder, in the same role at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, agreed to a decadelong contract extension last year. Verinder, according to a 2022 report in the Sarasota Observer, sister paper of the Business Observer, had a salary of $1.49 million in 2021. SMH had $1.15 billion in operating revenue in 2021 and has 895 beds, making it a bit smaller than TGH.
(The Sarasota Observer, in an opinion piece by Observer Media Group Publisher Matt Walsh in May 2022, after Verinder’s extension, noted SMH "veered far out of the norm in the hospital industry and business in general when they agreed to giving Verinder a 10-year contract. At the time of the extension, the hospital board’s outside compensation consultant was asked if she knew of other hospital system CEOs with 10-year contracts. She did not, acknowledging that 10 years was out of the norm. Typically, hospital CEO contracts are three to five years.")
Nonprofit and community hospital CEO salaries in Florida vary widely. Dr. Larry Antonucci, CEO of Lee Health in Fort Myers, had a salary of $1.08 million in 2020. Lee Health, the largest public health system in Florida, has 1,812 beds and posted operating revenue of $2.47 billion in 2021. On the higher side, Aurelio Fernandez, who recently retired as CEO of Memorial Healthcare System, which operates under the South Broward Hospital District on the east coast, had a salary of $2.34 million in 2018. That hospital system has an operating budget of $2.33 billion.
Couris, meanwhile, by multiple counts, is one of the most celebrated health care CEOs in Florida. A Boston native, he worked for BayCare Health System in Clearwater until the top role in Jupiter.
He came to TGH on a mission. “Almost six years ago, we established the vision for Tampa General to become the safest and most innovative academic health system in America,” said Couris. “With the confidence the board has placed in me and with the tireless work of our exceptional team members, physicians, and partners, we are not only well on our way to realizing that vision, but, in the process and together as a team, we have accomplished an exceptional amount along the way. I am grateful for the work of thousands of people who have brought us to this point, and I look forward to the years ahead as we continue to pursue innovation to save lives and drive breakthroughs in research, be at the forefront of adaptations in care delivery, and care for the sickest patients with the most complex conditions.”
Under Couris’ leadership, the organization was the first health care provider in Florida to partner with GE Healthcare to launch CareComm, a care coordination center using artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and industrial engineering to improve safety, quality and cost.
Other highlights of Couris’ tenure so far include:
- Expanding TGH's network of ambulatory services from 17 to over 130 primary and specialty medical practices, imaging centers, urgent care clinics and ambulatory outpatient surgical centers across Florida, including the east coast, Orlando and Fort Myers.
- Announcing a $550 million master facility plan in September 2021. As the largest expansion in the hospital’s history, the master facility plan includes a new 500,000-square-foot patient tower that includes 140 additional inpatient beds.
- The evolution of the Tampa Medical and Research District, a medical innovation ecosystem located in the heart of the city. Inspired by renowned medical districts across the country, the district houses a growing hub of world-class clinical care, academics, research, and biotechnology anchored by Tampa General and the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.