Chief Executive Officer
James A. Deal (Jim), founder of Compassus, serves as Chief Executive Officer. Deal has worked in the health care services industry for more than 40 years.
He began his career in the investor-owned hospital business as a regional executive. Subsequently, as the CEO of multiple healthcare companies, Deal led the creation of a national network of diabetes treatment centers, was instrumental in leading, developing and operating the first 16 at-risk disease/care management contracts in the U.S., grew a regional high-end medical imaging business into a multi-regional provider, and led the restructuring, refinancing and growth of an organization focused on high quality medical care and attendant cost of treating the frail elderly.
Deal founded Compassus in partnership with Cressey & Company, a Chicago-based private equity firm. In 2014, he led the re-capitalization of Compassus when Formation Capital and Audax Private Equity replaced Cressey & Company as the company’s financial partners. Compassus has since evolved into the nation’s third-largest hospice provider and most recently expanded its services to include a range of out-patient post-acute care, including home health, palliative care and hospice. Compassus, with more than 4,000 colleagues and associated physicians, has more than 140 locations in over 30 states.
Deal serves on the Board of Directors for Envision Healthcare, a leading national physician services provider and the leading physician office-based ambulatory surgery provider. He previously served on the Board of Directors for MedCath, the leading operator of cardiac specialty hospitals.
Deal earned a Master’s of Public Administration in Health Services Administration from the University of Arizona and a Bachelor’s of Business in Economics from Western Illinois University.
Executive Vice President,
Chief Operating Officer
Corina Tracy serves as executive vice president and chief operating officer for Compassus. Since 2003 she has held various leadership positions with the company, including director of clinical services, executive director, regional director of operations, and senior vice president of clinical services. Prior to joining Compassus, Tracy served as clinical manager for St. Luke’s Hospice in Cedar Rapids, and hospice liaison for Genesis Medical Center Hospice in Davenport, Iowa. She also directed a free medical clinic in Iowa that recruited physicians, nurses, spiritual leaders, and pharmacists to volunteer their time and services to assist the poor in the community.
Tracy is an end-of-life nursing educator and held the designation as a Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse for many years. She currently serves on the Regulatory Committee of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and is a member of Leadership Health Care, an initiative of the Nashville Health Care Council. She is pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration at Upper Iowa University.
Executive Vice President,
Chief Financial Officer
Brad Wear joined Compassus as chief financial officer in 2018. Wear has more than 20 years of experience as a chief financial officer within the healthcare industry.
Prior to joining Compassus, Wear served as chief financial officer for several healthcare companies including US Anesthesia Partners; SHPS, Inc.; I-trax/CHD Meridian (now Walgreens); Qualifacts Systems; Breathe America/DigiChart, Inc.; and REN Corporation. While at SHPS, Inc., Wear also served as interim operations leader for the Carewise Health subsidiary and was responsible for restructuring the organization to create empowerment, visibility and accountability among team members.
Wear is a certified public accountant and received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado. He resides in Gallatin, Tennessee, with his wife of more than 30 years.
Senior Vice President,
Russ Adkins joined Compassus as senior vice president and general counsel in 2013. Prior positions include vice president, legal, for MModal Inc., a leading global outsource provider of clinical documentation technology and services; and associate general counsel and then vice president, legal, for Spheris Inc. Prior to moving in-house, Mr. Adkins practiced law for private firms located in Boulder, CO and Nashville, TN. He has 16 years of experience in general corporate and business matters, mergers and acquisitions and health law.
Adkins received a Masters in Law from New York University School of Law and a Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from the University of Louisville School of Law.
Senior Vice President,
Chief Medical Officer
Kurt Merkelz, M.D., was named senior vice president and chief medical officer of Compassus in 2017. He previously served as medical director for the Compassus program serving Houston, Texas.
Dr. Merkelz leads the company’s quality and clinical initiatives, ensuring the delivery of quality patient outcomes and increased access to end-of-life care in all our services.
Throughout his career, Dr. Merkelz has focused on caring for older adults. His perseverance in raising industry benchmarks for quality hospice care earned him the R. Sean Morrison, M.D., Award for Outstanding Achievement in Hospice Physician Leadership.
He received his medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center and completed residencies in family medicine and geriatric medicine at the University of Cincinnati. Following his residency at the University of Cincinnati, he became assistant director of the international health program.
Dr. Merkelz is triple-board certified in hospice and palliative care medicine, family practice and geriatrics.
Jeff Mongonia joined Compassus in 2015 and is a division president overseeing programs in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. He is a highly accomplished health care management executive with more than 20 years of industry experience and proven ability to increase sales, market share, productivity and profitability.
Prior to Compassus, Mongonia served as senior vice president of field operations for American HomePatient, Inc., a national home health care provider of medical products and services. There he held positions as Mid-Atlantic area vice president and vice president of operational initiatives. Before American HomePatient, he was Ohio area manager for Lincare, Inc., another national home health care provider of respiratory supplies and services.
Mongonia has held memberships in the Ohio Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers, in which he served as a member of the board; the Council for Quality Respiratory Care; and the Northeast Indiana Continuity of Care organization, in which he served as president. He graduated summa cum laude from Indiana Wesleyan University with a bachelor’s degree in business management.
Laura Templeton is the division president overseeing Compassus programs in Arizona, California, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Since joining the company in 2012 she has held roles as managing clinical director, executive director, director of operations and regional vice president of operations.
Templeton uses her strong clinical background and leadership skills to ensure all patients and their families receive the highest quality care. She plays an integral part in managing productivity and performance across her programs, as well as in numerous quality improvement projects.
Prior to joining Compassus, Templeton worked at various health centers throughout Jefferson City, Missouri, most recently serving as the director of maternal child health, ICU, telemetry and cardiac short stay at St. Joseph Hospital West in Lake Saint Louis, Missouri.
She received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri, and a master of business administration in healthcare from William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri.
Senior Vice President,
Chief Human Resources Officer
Dennis Wade is senior vice president of human resources and organizational development for Compassus. He is responsible for all human resources functions, including recruitment and retention, compensation, benefits and colleague relations and development.
Wade has more than 30 years of experience in human resources and a proven track record of creating colleague-centric business strategies that focus on culture, engagement and retention. Prior to Compassus, Wade served as executive vice president and chief human resources officer of Corizon Health, where he was responsible for the administration of personnel policies, programs, compensation and benefits for more than 12,000 employees in 27 states.
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Wade received his bachelor’s degrees in Business and Psychology from Birmingham-Southern College.
Senior Vice President,
Chief Growth Officer
Damien Weston is a proven business leader in post-acute care – specifically hospice and home care. As senior vice president, chief growth officer for Compassus, his focus lies on increasing awareness of the organization’s hospice, palliative and home health care services to achieve near-term, intermediate and long-term growth.
Weston works closely with departments that drive growth, including strategic partnerships, field sales and marketing. He also works directly with the company’s regional vice presidents to achieve the Compassus vision to lead the transformation of health care delivery through execution of growth-generating strategies.
Prior to joining Compassus, Weston served in both operations and sales leadership positions at Kindred Health Services for 17 years. He most recently led the sales organization for Kindred’s western division, which included more than 300 sales colleagues and generated annual revenues of more than $500 million. Weston consistently led the company’s growth performance and for several periods achieved double-digit year-over-year growth.
Weston earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from Northwest University in Bellevue, Washington.