It takes a vil­lage to merge two Ten­nessee sys­tems

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Adam Ruben­fire

Lead­ers at Ten­nessee-based sys­tems Well­mont Health Sys­tem and the Moun­tain States Health Al­liance have taken the un­usual step of re­quest­ing public in­put to iden­tify gaps in care that a merger be­tween them could solve.

Well­mont, based in Kingsport, and MSHA, based in John­son City, are con- ven­ing four groups of public health of­fi­cials, ex­perts and lo­cal res­i­dents to iden­tify ways to im­prove re­gional health­care prob­lems. They will con­cen­trate on men­tal health and ad­dic­tion; pe­di­atric well­ness and ed­u­ca­tion; re­search and aca­demics; and clin­i­cal and so­cial bar­ri­ers to com­mu­nity well­ness. The groups will begin meet­ing through­out the re­gion in July.

Moun­tain States CEO Alan Levine and Well­mont CEO Bart Hove say the merger isn’t about fi­nances—both or­ga­ni­za­tions are in good fi­nan­cial health. Rather, it’s part of an am­bi­tious 10-year plan for the com­bined health sys­tem, which aims to ad­dress some of the ma­jor health is­sues af­fect­ing their com­mu­ni­ties.

The sys­tems an­nounced in April that they would pur­sue a merger. A de­fin­i­tive agree­ment is ex­pected in the fall. Gov­ern­ment ap­proval, if given, would likely come by the end of 2015 or in Jan­uary 2016.

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