Chief Executive Officer
James A. (Jim) Deal is founder and chief executive officer of Compassus. He has worked in health care services for more than 40 years. He began his career in the investor-owned hospital business as a hospital CEO and regional executive. Subsequently, 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 elderly.
In 2006, Deal founded Compassus in partnership with Cressey & Company, a Chicago-based private equity firm. In 2014, he led the re-capitalization of Compassus with Formation Capital and Audax Private Equity and, in 2020, also led the second re-capitalization of the company with TowerBrook Capital Partners and Ascension Capital. The nation’s largest private hospice provider, Compassus employs more than 4,000 colleagues who provide a range of hospice, palliative and home health care services to benefit patients and families through 159 locations serving 29 states across the U.S.
Deal formerly served on the board of directors of Envision Healthcare, a leading national physician services and office-based ambulatory surgery provider, and of MedCath, the leading operator of cardiac specialty hospitals.
Deal earned a Master of Business Administration in health services administration from the University of Arizona and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Western Illinois University.
President, Hospice and Palliative Care
Corina Tracy serves as president-Hospice and Palliative Care for Compassus. Since 2003, she has held various leadership positions with the company, including executive vice president and chief operating officer, 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 a certified End-of-Life Nursing Educator and held the designation as a certified hospice and palliative nurse for many years. She served a two-year term on the regulatory committee of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and is currently serving on its legislative affairs committee. She is also a member of Leadership Health Care, an initiative of the Nashville Health Council.
She received her nursing degree from Scott College. She also received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in business administration from Upper Iowa University. Tracy was named to the Nashville Medical News Women to Watch Class of 2017, an honor recognizing the region’s top women health care leaders.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Hospice and Palliative Care
Jeff Mongonia is executive vice president and COO–Hospice and Palliative Care. He joined Compassus in 2015 and has held leadership roles with the company that include division president overseeing programs in 13 states. A highly accomplished health care management executive with more than 30 years of industry experience, he has a 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. While 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 Northwest 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.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Home Health
Kurt Baumgartel is executive vice president and COO – Home Health. He joined Compassus in 2020 at a pivotal period of growth for the company as Compassus and Ascension became partners in Ascension at Home. Baumgartel, previously COO of Evolution Health and Ascension at Home, has extensive experience leading home health and hospice organizations gained over more than 20 years in leadership in the health care industry.
Prior to Ascension at Home, Baumgartel held executive positions that include president of Allegheny Health Network's Home Health and Hospice division, president and COO of Celtic Healthcare and president of Celtic Living Assistance Services, a subsidiary.
He is active in several professional associations, been published in trade periodicals and invited faculty at professional conferences on various home health care topics. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences and master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Duquesne University.
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Bhavesh Shah joined Compassus as executive vice president and CFO in 2020, bringing nearly two decades of finance and leadership experience to the company at a time of significant growth. As CFO, he oversees all aspects of Compassus financial operations, including treasury, financial planning and analysis, controllership and revenue cycle.
Prior to Compassus, Bhavesh spent more than eight years leading financial operations for Fortune 50 companies, including CVS Health and Aetna. Most recently, he served as vice president and head of retail planning and analysis at CVS. Preceding CVS Health, he was vice president and CFO of consumer health products and services for Aetna.
Earlier in his career, Bhavesh was a healthcare investment banker at Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital. He also spent five years in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of Captain.
Bhavesh earned an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an undergraduate degree in engineering from the University of Connecticut.
Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary
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, Colorado and Nashville, Tennessee. He has 18 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 and
Chief Medical Officer, Hospice
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.
Dr. Merkelz leads the company’s quality and clinical initiatives, ensuring delivery of quality patient outcomes and increased access to end-of-life care across the communities Compassus serves.
Throughout his career, Merkelz has focused on caring for older adults. His perseverance in raising industry benchmarks for quality hospice care earned him the Compassus R. Sean Morrison, M.D., Award for Outstanding Achievement in Hospice Physician Leadership in 2012. He is currently serving a two-year term as co-chair for the National Quality Forum (NQF)’s Measure Applications Partnership (MAP) post-acute workgroup.
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.
Merkelz is triple-board certified in hospice and palliative care medicine, family practice and geriatrics.
Division President, Hospice and Palliative Care
As division president, Mike Kirkbride leads hospice operations for Compassus programs in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia. In this role, he brings vast leadership experience in the post- acute space along with clinical background and more than 30 years of operations to drive clinical and operational improvements throughout the Compassus network.
Mr. Kirkbride has worked in a variety of executive leadership roles most recently, serving as vice president of specialty pharmacy operations for Option Care Health, a home infusion and specialty pharmacy services provider. Prior to that, he spent more than a decade with American Home Patient where he served as chief compliance officer and vice president of clinical services and helped shape the company’s approach to continuous quality improvement. Additionally, Dr. Kirkbride created a national pharmacy presence for American Home Patient to compliment the management of chronic respiratory patients. Earlier in his career, he held leadership positions with Matria Healthcare, McKesson Medication Management and HCA Healthcare.
As a pharmacist licensed in multiple states, Dr. Kirkbride earned his undergraduate degree in pharmacy at Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and a Doctor of Pharmacy at Shenandoah University School of Pharmacy.
Division President, Hospice and Palliative Care
Laura Templeton is the division president overseeing Compassus programs in Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Since joining the company in 2012 she has held roles including 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 families receive the highest quality care. She plays an integral role 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 near 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 obtained a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri, and a Master of Business Administration in health care from William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri.
Senior Vice President and
Chief Human Resources Officer
Dennis Wade is senior vice president of human resources (CHRO), marketing and communications for Compassus. In his role, Wade is responsible for all human resources functions, including recruitment and retention, compensation and benefits, and colleague relations and development. In addition, he oversees the marketing and communications functions for Compassus.
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.