Wellmont Health System, executives benefit from good financial year

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KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – In a year when Wellmont Health System employees did not receive across-the-board raises, the organization’s executives received bonuses, according to Wellmont’s most recent tax filing.

Tax documents show from 2013 to 2014 some of Wellmont’s top executives and board members were rewarded for the health system’s performance, receiving sizeable increases.

According to the public documents, the health system awarded more than $1 million in combined bonuses and incentives to its top 16 executives and board members; more than the year before. Eight of those people no longer work for the organization.

According to Wellmont Senior Vice President of System Advancement Todd Norris, Wellmont’s board always makes sure Wellmont is a good steward with the organization’s money when it comes to executive compensation. He says the system works to recruit the best executives and pays them competitively based on industry standards.

“The executives that work at Wellmont are well-prepared for the jobs that they have,” he said. “They bring significant healthcare experience to the table. They’re doing the very best that they can, not only to provide the services that our community needs and to advance our health system into the future, but to manage the health system very effectively.”

While executive pay increased in 2014, Wellmont confirms there was no across-the-board increase for other employees.

“Although across-the-board raises were not available that particular year, Wellmont co-workers had the opportunity to earn quarterly performance-based incentive payments,” the health system said. “In subsequent years, across-the-board increases have been provided.”

Overall, Wellmont Health System is coming off a solid year financially, according to the organization’s tax filings, but Wellmont says that doesn’t mean the health system doesn’t still need to merge with Mountain States Health Alliance.

According to Wellmont’s 990, revenues increased by $18 million or roughly three percent last fiscal year. At the same time, the documents show the not-for-profit cut expenses. Wellmont reports its operating margin was 0.8%.

“It doesn’t paint a desperate situation,” Norris said. “We don’t have a desperate situation. In the strategic options process that our board set forth a couple years ago they were really being proactive.”

Norris says the solid financial numbers show the system has an effective management team in place that’s worked to add new services and make cuts where necessary to make the organization more efficient. Norris says the proposed merger with Mountain States would make the two even better long-term.

As for revenues earned in a given fiscal year, Norris says the organization reinvests that money back into the health system and the community.

According to tax documents, Wellmont returned $77 million in benefits to the region, “including $67,498,149 of costs for indigent patients and uncompensated care for other patients and $10,049,985 for other community activities.”

“It’s important to our community that we make consistent improvements in the way that we deliver healthcare and the fact that we’re doing that in a tough environment speaks to the effectiveness of our management team, the commitment that we have to our community and our desire to make Wellmont the health system that it can be,” Norris said.

The previous year, tax documents reveal Wellmont returned $61 million in benefits to the region, “including $50,795,901 of costs for indigent patients and uncompensated care for other patients and $10,678,641 for other community activities.”

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Copyright WJHL 2016. All rights reserved.

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