Mercy Health System Leadership

John Starcher 

John M. Starcher, Jr., Esq.

President and CEO, Mercy Health

John Starcher oversees the development of system strategies and operations for all 23 Mercy Health hospitals and the clinically integrated network across Ohio and Kentucky. The ministry offers a full range of acute and post-acute services which treat 6.3 million patients annually through nearly 500 practice locations. Mercy Health employs more than 33,500 people, including 1,300 employed providers, and has net operating revenue of more than $4 billion.

Starcher was the former president and chief executive officer of Health Management Associates (HMA), an integrated acute care delivery system with 71 hospitals across 15 states. He guided HMA through its successful sale to Community Health Systems. Prior to becoming HMA president and CEO, Starcher served as president of HMA’s Eastern Group.

Before joining HMA, Starcher served as the CEO of three of Mercy Health’s four divisions – overseeing more than 20 acute care hospitals, five long term care facilities, six home health agencies and dozens of affiliated clinical practices with more than $3 billion in net revenue. He also served as the CEO of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Region, the senior vice president of Human Resources and corporate associate general counsel.

Starcher began his healthcare career in academic medicine, serving six years in leadership roles at the Medical College of Ohio, now the University of Toledo Medical Center.

He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bowling Green State University and a Doctorate in Jurisprudence from the University of Toledo. He is licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio and has actively served as a director on more than 16 boards.

Brian Smith

Brian Smith

Chief Operating Officer

Brian Smith oversees operations throughout the ministry. His responsibilities include the management of Mercy Health's seven operating regions, information technology, facility planning and other areas. He also oversees the Mercy Health relationship with Summa Health.

Smith was promoted to executive vice president of Mercy Health in 2012, after serving as CEO of the ministry's North Division. Prior to that, he held the position of executive vice president/chief operating officer with St. Rita’s Health Partners in Lima, Ohio, which included two hospitals, four physician joint ventures and a wholly owned physician enterprise.

Smith received his bachelor’s degree from Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. He received a Master of Business Administration from Ashland University.

He is past chairman of the board of The Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Summa Health System Board of Directors, the Mercy College of Ohio Board of Trustees and the Advisory Board for the James Dicke College of Business Administration at Ohio Northern University.

 Anton Decker

Anton Decker, M.B.B.Ch.

Chief Clinical Officer

Dr. Anton Decker serves as Mercy Health’s chief clinical officer and is responsible for the strategic leadership of the organization’s clinical enterprise.

Dr. Decker most recently served as chief medical officer and chairman of Banner Medical Group in Arizona. He also was chairman of Banner Health Network, Banner's accountable care organization.

Dr. Decker is a gastroenterologist and worked at Mayo Clinic Rochester and Arizona where he was an associate professor of medicine, the Mayo Clinic Arizona Gastroenterology Fellowship Program Director and the director of the Pancreas Clinic. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers and spoken at numerous national and international forums.

A native South African, Dr. Decker earned his medical degree at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, completed his residency and fellowship at Mayo Clinic and earned a master's degree in healthcare administration degree at the University of Phoenix.


David Cannady

Chief Strategy Officer

David Cannady is the chief strategy officer at Mercy Health, leading innovation and planning teams, and coordinating implementation of the 2018-2020 Strategic Plan.

Cannady came to Mercy Health in May 2017 from Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) in Nashville, where he served as vice president of the Strategic Resource Group. During his tenure at HCA, David led a team that provided strategic planning and consulting for growth initiatives and hospital operations, managed reporting and progress on the strategic agenda, and helped develop strategies on service lines, clinically integrated networks and clinical co-management programs. Before joining HCA in 2002, Cannady was a senior manager in the Health Care Consulting group at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young in Charlotte.

A North Carolina native, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Health from the University of North Carolina and a master’s degree in Health Administration from Duke University.

 Michael Bezney

Michael Bezney

Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel

Michael A. Bezney joined Mercy Health in 2002 as senior vice president and general counsel. He has 20 years of expertise in healthcare law, with extensive experience in strategy, negotiations, acquisitions/divestitures, compliance and bond financing.

Prior to joining Mercy Health, Bezney served as vice president and associate general counsel for Advocate Health Care, the largest nonprofit system in metropolitan Chicago. Before joining Advocate in 1996, Bezney was a partner in the healthcare law department of McDermott, Will & Emery, a Chicago-based law firm. He also served as an associate in corporate law with the Dallas, Texas-based firm of Johnson & Gibbs.

Bezney earned his Doctorate in Jurisprudence from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Texas.

 Deborah Bloomfield

Deborah Bloomfield

Chief Financial Officer

Debbie Bloomfield, chief financial officer (CFO) for Mercy Health since 2013, is a strategic partner to the chief executive officer, managing the financial operations of the organization, including treasury, supply chain, real estate and construction.

Bloomfield was the divisional CFO for Mercy Health's southern division. She has more than 25 years of experience in healthcare finance. Previously, Bloomfield was employed by Ernst and Young, LLP, specializing in the healthcare and finance services sectors.

Bloomfield holds a PhD in business administration from Touro University International (now Trident University). She has a Master of Business Administration degree in finance and management information systems from Xavier University in Cincinnati and an undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, in accounting from Xavier University. In addition, she is a certified public accountant in Ohio (active) and a member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

 Fr Cardone

Father Joseph Cardone

Chief Mission Officer
Senior Vice President, Mission and Values Integration

As the chief mission officer and senior vice president of Mission and Values Integration, Father Joseph Cardone leads Mercy Health's initiatives to extend understanding about the organization's Catholic heritage and identity among Merchy Health associates, leaders and board members. 

Previously, Fr. Cardone served as the vice president of Mission and Value Integration for Mercy Health – St. Vincent Medical Center and Mercy Health – Children’s Hospital in Toledo. He also served within the Diocese of Toledo as the pastor for Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. His 17 years with Mercy Health Includes leading a variety of regional efforts addressing ethics, neighborhood revitalization, development of sacred spaces in Toledo region facilities and spiritual care education and accreditation.

He holds a doctor of philosophy in moral theology from St. Louis University and a master’s degree from the Athenaeum of Ohio, Cincinnati. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and teaching. He was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Toledo in 1987.

 Joe Gage

Joe Gage

Chief Human Resources Officer

Joe Gage is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Mercy Health. Joe enjoys helping healthcare providers and their people reach their full potential.

Previously Gage was a vice president at Tenet and led Human Resources (HR), Talent, Recruiting and HR Metrics for the 56 hospitals and 58,000 employees in hospital operations. Earlier in his career, he negotiated national and local labor agreements for Levi Strauss & Co.  At Delta Air Lines, Gage served as the HR division leader for 10,000 pilots and led the startup of Delta’s new low-cost carrier, Song Airlines. He began his career as in-house counsel for BNSF Railway handling labor and employment cases. 

Gage has a B.B.A. from Baylor University and a J.D. from Baylor School of Law.  He is licensed to practice law in Texas.


Tom Golias

Chief Managed Care Officer

Tom Golias joined Mercy Health in May 2017 as chief managed care officer, overseeing payment, contracting and payer-related business development initiatives.

Golias came to Mercy Health from Cigna, where he served as regional vice president of network development for the east region, a network covering 25 states and the District of Columbia. He was responsible for maintaining high performance in provider negotiations, enhancing provider relationships, managing total medical costs and developing and implementing volume-to-value and performance-based programs. Golias joined Cigna in 2006, and before that worked for Aetna in Nashville.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in health planning and administration at Penn State University and a master’s degree in health systems management from Rush University in Chicago.


Sandra Mackey

Chief Marketing Officer

Sandra Mackey joined Mercy Health in March 2017 as chief marketing officer. She is charged with implementing system-wide marketing initiatives, digital strategy, internal and external communications, and creative services that support healthcare delivery in Mercy Health's regional organizations.

Previously, Mackey served as senior vice president of Marketing & Communications for the Arthritis Foundation, where she was responsible for national strategic marketing initiatives. She also served as executive director of market strategy for Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, overseeing the rollout of a comprehensive brand strategy.

With more than 25 years of marketing experience, Mackey is a graduate of the Woodruff Leadership Academy and holds a bachelor's degree in nursing from Birmingham University in England. She serves on the board of directors for Saint Joseph's Mercy Care Foundation in Atlanta and is a member of the national Women Business Leaders (WBL) organization.

 Bob Baxter

Bob Baxter

President and CEO, Mercy Health – Lima and Toledo Regions
Senior Vice President, Mercy Health

Bob Baxter leads St. Rita's Health Partners in Lima, Ohio, which includes St. Rita's Medical Center, St. Rita's Physician Services, and 11 Joint Venture and other Subsidiary Corporations. He also leads Mercy Health - Toledo, a seven-hospital system serving Toledo, Tiffin, Defiance and Willard.

Prior to coming to Lima, Baxter spent more than seven years at Rapid City Regional Medical Center as the VP, Operations and in the chief operating officer role.

He received a master's degree in business administration and a master's of art from the University of Iowa. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and in 2008 received the ACHE's "Regents" Award.


Matt Caldwell

President and CEO, Community Mercy Health - Springfield
Senior Vice President, Mercy Health

Matt Caldwell joined Mercy Health in December 2016 as president and CEO of Community Mercy Health Partners in the Springfield Region.

Matt joined Mercy Health from Tennova Healthcare Lebanon in Lebanon, Tenn., where he served as CEO for four years. He previously served as CEO of Dallas Regional Medical Center in Texas, and has healthcare leadership experience at other Texas hospitals in varied roles, including chief operating officer, chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Support.

Caldwell holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of Texas at Arlington and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Bethel College in North Newton, Kan. Matt started his healthcare career in nursing and has experience in critical care, recovery room, orthopedic post-operative care and as a case manager.


Mike Garfield

CEO, Mercy Health – Cincinnati Region
Senior Vice President, Mercy Health

Mike Garfield, the executive leader of Mercy Health – Cincinnati, is accountable for leading the region’s operations, which includes five award-winning hospitals and four freestanding emergency departments, as well as accredited cardiac, oncology and orthopaedic service lines.

Previously, Garfield served as chief operating officer of Mercy Health – Cincinnati. In that role, he was accountable for operations, placing a strong emphasis on quality, patient experience, physician relations and business development. Prior to joining Mercy Health, he was division president at Health Management Associates. He also has held executive leadership roles with Community Health Systems and was CEO of four hospitals within HCA/Health Trust.

Garfield received a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration from Furman Universityand a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Tulane University.      

 Chris Hilton

Chris Hilton

Senior Vice President, Operations Finance

Chris Hilton is responsible for a variety of key ministry support services, including Supply Chain, AP SSO, Reimbursement, and Capital and Long Range Planning. He also has oversight of finance and performance for Ensemble Health Partners.

Prior to joining Mercy Health, Hilton served as the chief financial officer of Aviation West Charters (Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance) as well as senior vice president, Operations Finance, for Health Management Associates, where he spent the majority of his career.

He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Georgia Southern University, and earned a CPA license from the state of Georgia.

 Don Kline

Don Kline

CEO, Mercy Health – Youngstown
Senior Vice President, Mercy Health

Don Kline was named president and CEO for the Mercy Health Youngstown region in February 2016.  In his role, he leads the regional executive team in the formation of strategy and caredelivery across three hospitals, as well as numerous outpatient, post-acute and long term care locations. Kline also serves as the president of Mercy Health Physicians, which has grown to more than 200 providers in 2017.

Kline has more than 30 years of healthcare experience, 10 with Mercy Health. He began his ministry career as divisional chief financial officer for the the Northern Markets. He most recently served as markets chief financial officer, providing strategic and operational support to the all seven Mercy Health regions across Ohio and Kentucky.

Kline holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Duquesne University.  He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

 Matt Love

Matt Love

SVP and Divisional CFO

Matt Love joined the ministry in February 2012 as Mercy Health – Youngstown’s chief financial officer and quickly added the responsibility of strategy and planning leadership.  Love became chief financial officer, North Markets, in December 2015. 

Prior to joining Mercy Health, he served in operational and planning roles for several years at Methodist LeBonhuer Healthcare in Memphis, Tenn.  Earlier in his career, he served as the top financial executive at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Love received a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial and systems engineering from The Ohio State University and a Master of Business Administration from Cleveland State University.  He is also a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) and is involved with several civic activities, serving on the Youngstown/Warren Regional Board as chairman elect and on the Ohio Hospital Association's Finance Committee. He was also board chairman of the Memphis Medical Center.


Staci Lucius

President, Mercy Health Physicians

Staci Lucius joined Mercy Health as president, Mercy Health Physicians, in August 2017. She works closely with regional CEOs to identify and implement best practice excellence across the ministry.  

Lucius has nearly 20 years of healthcare operations experience. Most recently, she served as chief operating officer of the OhioHealth Physician Group, where she led operations for the company’s physician network of more than 1,100 providers across 200 sites. Prior to OhioHealth, Staci served as assistant vice president of operations for the Health Management Associates’ (HMA) Eastern Group, as well as interim president of HMA’s Health Management Physician Network.

Lucius is a 1994 graduate of Arkansas Tech University, where she received a bachelor’s degree with a double major in rehabilitation science and psychology. She earned a master’s degree in health care administration from Oklahoma State University in 2010.

 Dave Nowiski

Dave Nowiski

CFO, Mercy Health Physicians and Mercy Health Select

Dave Nowiski is the current CFO for Mercy Health Physicians, HealthSpan Partners, Mercy Health Select and Mercy Health's Behavioral Health Institute.  He has been with Mercy Health for the past 18 years in various financial leadership roles.  

Nowiski has 38 years of healthcare financial leadership experience.  In his current role, he has led the development of the financial infrastructure for Mercy Health’s employed physician platform, which exceeds 1,300 full time employed providers. Prior to his current role, he was Catholic Health Partner’s Southern Division CFO for 10 years. His other experiences include 14 years of CFO/finance leadership roles with Quorum Health Resources and a CFO position within the Holy Cross Health System.

He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ferris State University and a master’s degree in healthcare management from Central Michigan University.

 Edwin Oley

Edwin Oley

CEO, Mercy Health – Lorain
Senior Vice President, Mercy Health

Edwin Oley has been chief executive officer of the Lorain Region for nine years. Prior to that, he was the CEO of Oberlin Medical Center.

He has also served on the executive management team of the newly merged St. Joseph and Lorain Community Hospitals.

Oley has a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy from Ohio Northern University’s College of Pharmacy. He is very active in the community and has served as the chair of the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce and as a trustee on the boards of CommStar Credit Union and the Lorain County Community College Foundation.  Oley was recognized by the American Red Cross as its 2012 Community Hero and by the Boy Scouts of America as their 2016 Distinguished Citizen Award honoree.  


Mark Skaja

Vice President, Mission Integration & Spiritual Care

Mark Skaja provides leadership and facilitation to regional Mission executives, spiritual care leaders and other key personnel to ensure that the Mission and Values of Mercy Health are effectively communicated and integrated into all facets of planning, decision making and operations.

Skaja served as vice president, Mission Services, at Mercy Health - St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima, Ohio, from 1992 to 2014. Prior to that, he was director of pastoral care at St. Rita’s Medical Center from 1989 to 1992, and chaplain for rehabilitation services at Saint Mary’s Health Services and Mary Free Bed Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., from 1983 to 1989.

Skaja has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology from St. Francis de Sales College in Milwaukee, Wis. He has a Master of Arts in Theology, Biblical Studies and a Master of Divinity from St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Mich. He has been a certified chaplain since 1991.


Michael Yungmann

President and CEO, Mercy Health - Kentucky
Senior Vice President, Mercy Health

Michael Yungmann joined Mercy Health in 2017 as the president and CEO of Mercy Health - Kentucky and senior vice president of Mercy Health.


Prior to joining Mercy Health, Yungmann served as president of BayCare Health System in Clearwater, Fla., for three years. While with BayCare Health System, he focused on physician relationships, service line growth and patient and employee satisfaction. In a previous position as CEO of Southside Regional Medical Center, Petersburg, Va., the hospital achieved HealthGrades 5-Star Ratings for Orthopaedic Services, GYN Surgery and Treatment of Heart Failure. He has healthcare leadership experience at other hospitals in Florida, Tennessee and Missouri, serving in various roles including CEO, Chief Operating Officer/Associate Administrator.


He started his healthcare career as a physical therapist and clinic supervisor and has also been director of Rehabilitation and Cardiopulmonary Services.  


Yungmann holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Saint Leo University, St. Leo, Fla and a bachelor’s of Health Science in Physical Therapy from University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla. 

Mercy Health Board of Trustees

Board members at Mercy Health are offered a unique opportunity to: improve the health of the community; advocate change for those in need; grow intellectually, spiritually and emotionally; expand their knowledge; share their expertise; and interact with others in an environment which challenges and stimulates their thinking. Board membership is a synergistic partnership with the organization to develop each other to their fullest potential.

The Mercy Health corporate board of trustees provides overall system direction, approves appointments to regional boards, and appoints and evaluates the system CEO. It approves system and regional strategic and financial plans. It also is responsible for mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and dissolutions of subsidiaries; approves debt and expenditures in excess of the amount authorized for the CEO; and annually appoints an external auditing firm; and also serve on the Mercy Health corporate board, assuring integration of the sponsors' interests in Mercy Health's future vision and strategies and approving certain major actions as required by Church law.

Members of Mercy Health's Board of Trustees include:

  • Katherine A. Arbuckle, CPA
  • Sister Doris Gottemoeller, RSM
  • Lawrence L. Grypp
  • Catherine A. Jacobson, FHFMA, C.P.A.
  • Denise Koo, MD, MPH
  • David C. Leach, M.D.
  • Iliana A. Mora
  • Sister Jean Orsuto, HM, R.N., M.S.N.
  • Leonard M. Randolph, Jr., M.D., Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
  • Fr. Myles N. Sheenan, SJ
  • Sister Carol Anne Smith, HM
  • Sister Mary Stanton, RSM
  • John M. Starcher, Jr., JD, President & CEO
  • Katherine W. Vestal, R.N., Ph.D., FAAN, FACHE, Chair, Board of Trustees

Please note that Mercy Health's chief financial officer serves as treasurer of the board of trustees and that Mercy Health's chief governance officer serves as secretary of the board of trustees.