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June 12, 2019

Executive Compensation at Ascension Health and Ascension Health Alliance

by Anne Paddock

Ascension Health is the nation’s largest Catholic non-profit health system with 151 hospitals, 2,600 sites of care, and 50 senior living facilities in 21 states and the District of Columbia. The sole corporate member of Ascension Health is Ascension Health Alliance, a Missouri non-profit 501 (c) (3).  Consequently, there are two separate IRS Form 990’s that need to be viewed to gain an understanding of the executive compensation.

Ascension Health Alliance

In 2017, Ascension Health Alliance reported total revenue of $1.9 billion and expenses of nearly $1.3 billion, leaving more than $600 million unspent at year-end. Added to the fund balance along with nearly $500 million in net unrealized gains on assets and an $11 billion transfer from an affiliate meant that the net fund balance (which is often referred to as the endowment) grew by more than $12 billion from $1 billion to $13 million.

2,786 individuals (total employees) were compensated $464 million which equates to an average compensation of $167,000 each. However, only 523 individuals received more than $100,000 in compensation which suggests that those most highly compensated received significantly higher compensation.  The 7 most highly compensated individuals were all male and received $2.9 million -$13.6 million:

  • $13,627,686:  Anthony R Tersigni, President and CEO
  • $ 8,125,113:  Robert J Henkel, EVP
  • $ 5,083,444:  Anthony J Speranzo, Chief Financial Officer
  • $ 4,088,743:  David B Pryor, EVP
  • $ 3,579,388:  John D Doyle, EVP
  • $ 3,438,182:  Joseph R Impicciche, EVP
  • $ 2,887,704:  Herbert J Vallier, EVP

Two conclusions arise from the above list:  First, the most highly compensated individuals are receiving exorbitant salaries (especially given the Catholic doctrine); and second, how shameful is it that the 8 most highly compensated individuals are all male? Seems unbelievable that Ascension Health Alliance could not find at least 3-4 competent females (to roughly mirror the population) to fill any of these positions.

The IRS Form 990 for the year ending June 30, 2017 also reports Ascension Health Alliance paid for first class or charter travel, housing allowance and or a residence for personal use, and tax indemnification and gross-up payments Schedule J, Part III, Supplemental Information does not provide any specific detail as to the extent of these expenses.

Ascension Health

In 2017, Ascension Health reported total revenue of $302 million and expenses of $296 million (including $35 million in depreciation) leaving $6 million to go to the net fund balance along with a $128 million net intracompany transfers to increase the net fund balance from $269 million at the beginning of the year to $403  million at year-end.

912 individuals (total employees) received $107 million in compensation which equates to an average compensation of $117,000. However, only 135 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation which again, suggests the most highly compensated employees received significantly more. The 14 most highly compensated individuals are listed below (note:  the names in bold were compensated by Ascension Health while the others were compensated by Ascension Health Alliance or another related organization):

  • $13,627,686:  Anthony R Tersigni, President, CEO
  • $ 8,125,113:  Robert J Henkel, CEO, Pres
  • $ 5,083,444:  Anthony J Speranzo, CFO
  • $ 4,780,159:  Patricia A Maryland, COO
  • $ 4,088,743  David B Pryor, Director
  • $ 3,579,388:  John D Doyle, EVP
  • $ 3,438,182:  Joseph R Impicciche, EVP
  • $3,164,661:  Michael H Schatzlein, Regional CEO (plus $1,140 from an affiliate org)
  • $ 2,887,704:  Herbert J Vallier, Vice Chairman
  • $ 2,431,684:  Gwendolyn M Mackenzie, SVP Alliance Health, Ministry Market Exec MI
  • $ 2,095,771:  Ziad Haydar, SVP Clinical Officer
  • $ 1,939,678:  Bonnie L Phipps, SVP Alliance Health – Group Oper Exec (received $269,231 severance)
  • $ 1,795,499:  Rhonda Anderson, SVP and CFO
  • $   721,599:  Katherine Arbuckle, Former Officer (this was a severance payment)

9 of the 14 individuals (64%) listed above are male while 5 of the 9 (36%) individuals are female. Of those who received compensation solely from Ascension Health (5 individuals), 2 (40%) are male while 3 (60%) are female.

The IRS Form 990 for the year ending June 30, 2017 also reports Ascension Health paid for tax indemnification and gross up payments and housing allowance or a residence for personal use. Schedule J, Part III, Supplemental Information does not provide detail as to who received these benefits and to what extent.

Bottom Line and Notable Information

Ascension Health and Ascension Health Alliance are very profitable health care providers who also have managed to create and grow significant net fund assets (which are sometimes referred to as endowments).  The staff is very well compensated and completely dominated by males in top management in terms of most highly compensated employees at the Alliance.

To read the IRS Form 990 for the year ending June 30, 2017 for Ascension Health Alliance, click here.

To read the IRS Form 990 for the year ending June 30, 2017 for Ascension Health, click here.

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