Howard Kern

(Breaking: Sentara Spokesperson responds with definitive answers. Look for update coming soon.)

A month after we began asking basic questions about the possibility of a multi-million-dollar lifetime compensation package for Sentara Healthcare CEO Howard Kernwe still don’t have answers or any additional information.

When asked directly, Kern hung up the phone. Sentara spokespersons provided vague responses. Our emails to top Sentara executives and execs at merger partner Cone Health have been ignored.

Sentara and Cone are both not-for-profit, tax-exempt health organizations. If it is true that Kern is guaranteed a multi-million dollar a year compensation package for life, it seems like an unusually lucrative deal for the leader of a nonprofit.

In attempt to get answers from Sentara, we decided to take our questions directly to residents of Sentara’s and Cone Health’s respective service territories.

Our questions are simple:

  1. Is it true that Kern is guaranteed his multi-million-dollar compensation for life?
  2. Did Kern offer a similar lifetime compensation deal to top executives at nonprofit Cone Health as part of an effort to complete an $11.5 billion merger deal that Kern has aggressively pursued?

To draw attention to the questions and lack of answers, we’ve launched a mobile billboard campaign that physically takes these questions to these executives and the community.

Howard Kern Howard Kern Howard Kern


Watch for our billboard coming your way! We’ll let our readers know if we finally get some definitive answers or any additional information.


Do you have information to share? Send us a note through our confidential tip line.


Scott Peterson is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, an investigative watchdog blog holding government officials, lobbyists, and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP is provided by Renew American Prosperity and individual donors.


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