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Tennessee health department approves proposed Wellmont, MSHA merger


Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, granted Kingsport, Tenn.-based Wellmont Health System and Johnson City, Tenn.-based Mountain States Health Alliance's request for a certificate of public advantage Sept. 19.

The health systems filed COPA applications in Tennessee and Virginia. Health officials in both states must approve the applications to protect the merger from intervention by the Federal Trade Commission, which publicly stated its opposition to the proposed deal on multiple occasions citing antitrust concerns.

"This has been an unprecedented and complex process, and I appreciate the time, effort and resources everyone involved has put into making it a productive one," Dr. Dreyzehner said. "I also appreciate the legal expertise and guidance of the Attorney General and his staff as we've put into place measurable goals and terms and conditions to ensure that in granting approval, there is a clear public benefit to the health and wellbeing of residents of the region."

The boards of Wellmont Health System and Mountain States Health Alliance also voted to approve the terms of a final merger agreement Sept. 18 prior to the Tennessee health department's decision, WJHL News reports.

The proposed merger must still be approved by Virginia health officials. Virginia State Health Commissioner Marissa Levine, MD, announced the agency's intent to delay its decision on the proposed merger Sept. 18. The deadline was pushed back to Sept. 30.

The health systems initially declared plans to merge in April 2015.


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