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July 19, 2016

Firms Doing Business With Calif. Hospital Pay CEO Millions

The chief executive of UCSF Medical Center has earned more than $5 million since 2007 for serving on the boards of two companies that have done business with the nonprofit, University of California-affiliated hospital, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Mark Laret has been paid an average of $556,000 a year by Varian Medical Systems of Palo Alto, Calif., which produces radiation supplies, and Nuance Communications, a Massachusetts software firm. The hospital — a wing of the University of California at San Francisco that has attracted considerable philanthropic support in recent years — has done $8 million in business with the two companies during that period.

Ethics experts said Mr. Laret’s corporate ties create the appearance of a conflict of interest, as his main board role is to maximize the firms’ profits. A university spokeswoman said the CEO has “fully complied” with institutional policies in obtaining approval to sit on the boards and that he has no involvement in hospital decisions to purchase Varian and Nuance products.