Ascension, a Catholic health care system operating 131 hospitals and other health care services in 23 states and the District of Columbia, on July 5 will implement an $11 an hour minimum wage, the health system announced Friday. It expects about 10,000 employees and affiliated contractors to benefit from the new minimum wage, an increase from $9-$10 currently in most of its markets. Ascension President and CEO Anthony Tersigni said the new policy “reflects our commitment to provide competitive compensation and benefit programs that meet the needs of our diverse associate populations – while being good stewards of our resources so that we can continue to serve all persons with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable.” The federal minimum hourly wage is $7.25, with state minimums ranging up to $9.50.