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Wellmont, MSHA receive final approval to merge

The Tennessee Department of Health issued Kingsport, Tenn.-based Wellmont Health System and Johnson City, Tenn.-based Mountain States Health Alliance a certificate of public advantage Jan. 31, the final approval necessary to complete the proposed merger.

In his approval of the proposed transaction, Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, said, "Clearly a great deal of work on the part of all involved has gone into this groundbreaking result. We can be proud of the thoughtful, deliberate, transparent and community-accountable process it has been, one I know we all look forward to continuing."

He continued, "Our job as the state was to determine whether a merger of the two systems could create a clear public benefit to the people of this wonderful and vibrant region, a responsibility we took and will continue to take very seriously as we enter this next exciting and important phase."

As part of the approval, the state health department will actively supervise the combined entity to "ensure the continuation of the public benefit."

The merged entity will be called Ballad Health. Officials plan to officially launch the organization Friday.

Wellmont and MSHA initially announced their intent to merge in April 2016.

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