Carolinas HealthCare planes used for CEO's personal trips - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Carolinas HealthCare planes used for CEO's personal trips

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Carolinas HealthCare made a surprising admission Monday. The hospital chain's CEO has been using the system's planes for personal trips.

Details first surfaced in an investigation by the Charlotte Observer published on Monday.

Carolinas HealthCare says its chief, Michael Tarwater, took at least 29 personal flights on the system's planes from 2008 through 2012.  The planes are for transporting patients and organs.

The hospital system owns a total of five of them along with three helicopters, and a Carolinas Healthcare spokesman tells WBTV the vast majority of flights are designated for medical purposes such as transporting critically injured and ill patients and retrieving organs for transplant.

But over the course of four years, Tarwater took over two dozen personal trips on the system's planes, and that fact is raising eyebrows, because Carolinas HealthCare is a nonprofit.

The system's reps point out that Tarwater's personal trips comprise less than one percent of the more than 4,000 flights generated by Carolinas HealthCare from 2008 to 2012.

And these flights were counted as part of Tarwater's compensation, which totaled about $4.8 million in 2012.

Carolinas HealthCare also points out that the trips adhere to federal guidelines. Tarwater reported just under $2500 a year as income attributable to his personal flights.

Another interesting aspect - Tarwater often co-pilots these planes. In fact, he served as co-pilot on more than half of the Carolinas HealthCare flights he was aboard over the past few years.  He's been on over a hundred flights during that time period for business.

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