Some 33 HSE managers were paid over €150,000 last year, according to new figures released to Newstalk.
All the managers work in non-medical roles.
The highest earner took in nearly €412,000.
A further 863 non-medical staff earned between €100,000 and €150,000 each.
UCC Health Economist Dr Brian Turner said the outlay is relatively modest in the contest of the overall health spend.
“On the face of it, I can see why people would raise some eyebrows at that, but the HSE is one of the largest organisations in the country,” he said.
“They employ over 110,000 people so they’ll need some very senior managers to manage a staff compliment like that, so I am not sure it is entirely out of line with international comparators.”
Dr Turner said the HSE is one of the largest organisations in the country and needs senior managers.
“The latest figures from the CSO on the system of health codes would suggest that, in terms of the Government financing of healthcare, the administration costs for the centralised HSE is less than 1% of the overall health quota,” he said.
“So, it is relatively modest in the greater scheme of things.”
The HSE was handed an overall budget of €20.6bn in 2021.