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Virginia health commissioner reportedly extends deadline for Wellmont, MSHA merger 1 month

Virginia State Health Commissioner Marissa Levine, MD, reportedly extended the deadline to approve a cooperative agreement for the proposed merger between Kingsport, Tenn.-based Wellmont Health System and Johnson City, Tenn.-based Mountain States Health Alliance to Oct. 30, according to WCYB-5 News.

Southwest Virginia Health Authority representatives reportedly met with officials from both health systems Wednesday. During the meeting, state officials said they needed more time to review the application, according to the report.

"We want to make sure we have an informed decision, because that's how our committee has operated from the start," Southwest Virginia Health Authority Chairman and Virginia Delegate Terry Kilgore told WCYB-5 News.

A spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Health confirmed to the Bristol Herald Courier Sept. 28 the SVHA submitted a request for an extension via a letter to the department.

Wellmont and MSHA officials also reportedly recommended changes to their Virginia COPA application to reflect revisions outlined by Tennessee officials. Tennessee health officials approved the health systems' COPA application Sept. 19. 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.

Wellmont and MSHA initially submitted their COPA application to the SVHA in February 2016. Dr. Levine was slated to issue a decision on the application Sept. 15, but pushed back the deadline last Monday to Sept. 30.

Editor's note: Becker's Hospital Review reached out to the Southwest Virginia Health Authority for comment and will update the article as more information becomes available.

More articles on transactions and valuations:
Massena Memorial Hospital affiliation talks on hold
Meridian Behavioral Health Systems completes purchase of West Virginia hospital
Cortland Regional Medical Center, Guthrie to explore affiliation


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