Executive Team

James A. Deal

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.

Ten years ago, 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 4,500 colleagues and associated physicians, has more than 165 locations in over 30 states.

Deal serves on the Board of Directors of AmSurg / Sheridan (AMSG), 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.


Russ Adkins

Russ2823Senior Vice President
General Counsel

Russ Adkins joined the company as senior vice president and general counsel of Compassus 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 joining Spheris, he practiced law for several private law firms, with a practice focused on general business, corporate, and commercial matters.

Adkins received a Masters in Law from New York University School of Law and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Louisville School of Law. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from Murray State University.


Kurt Merkelz, M.D.

Kurt Merkelz MDSenior 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.

In his new role, Dr. Merkelz will lead the company’s quality and clinical initiatives, ensuring the delivery of quality patient outcomes and increased access to end-of-life care in the more than 150 communities Compassus serves across the country.

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.


Tony James

Tony2876Executive Vice President
Chief Financial Officer

Tony James has served as the chief financial officer since 2011. Previously he served as the chief financial officer of M Modal (formerly MedQuist Inc.), having been co-chief operating officer following MedQuist’s acquisition of Spheris. James served as corporate controller, chief financial officer, and chief operating officer for Spheris. Prior to this he worked in a variety of financial roles over a seven-year tenure with Mariner Post-Acute Network, a long-term healthcare company. Additionally, James worked for two years in public accounting for Schoenauer, Musser & Co.

James is a certified public accountant and has a B.A. in Accounting from the University of Northern Iowa.


Jeff Mongonia

President, Eastern Division

Jeff Mongonia joined Hospice Compassus in 2015 as President, East Division. Mongonia is a highly accomplished health care management executive with more than 20 years of industry experience and consistently proven ability to increase sales, market share, productivity and profitability while reducing expenses.

Prior to Hospice Compassus, Mongonia served as Senior Vice President of Field Operations for American HomePatient, Inc., a national home healthcare provider of medical products and services, having previously held the positions of Area Vice President, Mid-Atlantic, and Vice President of Operational Initiatives. Before American HomePatient, he was Area Manager, Ohio, for Lincare, Inc., another national home healthcare 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 B.S. in Business Management.


Corina Tracy

Corina2854Executive 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.

Tracy recently spoke with Business of Healthcare about the importance of end-of-life conversations. Click here to watch the interview.

Dennis Wade

Dennis WadeSenior Vice President, Human Resources and Organizational Development

Dennis Wade is senior vice president of human resources and organizational development 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.

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.