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Former West Penn Allegheny CEO tops health system's list of highest-paid executives

| Thursday, May 15, 2014, 2:15 p.m.

The top paid executive at West Penn Allegheny Health System was its former CEO, Christopher Olivia, who made $1.9 million in 2012 after stepping down from the job in 2011, according to tax records released on Thursday.

Olivia was the highest-compensated employee of the health system in 2011, when he made $6 million.

He resigned in June 2011 as Highmark Inc. announced a plan to acquire the financially struggling system. It is now part of Highmark's Allegheny Health Network.

A severance payment of $1.25 million was the largest component of Olivia's 2012 pay.

He joined the five-hospital West Penn Allegheny system in 2008 and oversaw three years of heavy financial losses. Now the president of Continuum Health Alliance, a New Jersey health care consulting firm, Olivia could not be reached for comment.

Allegheny Health Network spokesman Dan Laurent declined to comment.

West Penn Allegheny's finances have improved recently. For the January-March quarter, it posted a net loss of $12.5 million, compared with a net loss of $34.6 million in the same period a year ago.

And the system said on Wednesday that it was speeding up a plan to buy back bond debt from Highmark because its financial turnaround is making significant progress.

As a nonprofit, the five-hospital West Penn Allegheny is required by the Internal Revenue Service to make annual filings available to the public. The filings cover the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, but compensation is for the 2012 calendar year.

Only one other non-physician employee was paid more than $1 million in 2012: Roy Santarella, former chief administrative officer who left in 2011. He was paid $1.3 million, including $703,000 in severance.

Many West Penn Allegheny executives resigned in recent years and are not involved in managing Allegheny Health Network, which is headed by CEO John Paul. Allegheny Health Network, which also owns Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Jefferson Hills and St. Vincent Health System in Erie, will release tax filings for 2013 in November.

Rival health system UPMC is expected to release its tax filings on Friday.

Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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