TDH deems MSHA, Wellmont COPA application complete again

Published 7:20 pm Monday, May 22, 2017

A merger between two health systems once again took another step forward Monday morning.
Tennessee Department of Health John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, FACOEM announced that the Certificate of Public Advantage (COPA) application from Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System has been deemed complete and the COPA process will move forward.
Dreyzehner gave the COPA application an OK following consultation with Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III.
“As we move into this next phase of the COPA process, TDH will work with the Attorney General’s Office to determine whether granting a COPA would provide an undisputable public benefit to the people of Northeast Tennessee,” Dreyzehner said in a statement issued to the Elizabethton Star.
Following the announcement, MSHA and Wellmont issued a statement in regards to the announcement.
“We are pleased that our Certificate of Public Advantage application in Tennessee has been complete,” the statement read. “We appreciate the hard work Commissioner Dreyzehner and his staff have done over the past several months to evaluate the supplemental information that provides a more detailed picture of how our proposed merger will specifically benefit the health of populations we serve. We are committed to continuing to work with officials in both states as they consider the merits of our proposal, and we look forward to the next steps in the process.”
Monday’s announcement isn’t the first time the application has been deemed complete. In January, the systems requested to make additional submissions to the application. The decision came after September 2016 when the application was first officially deemed complete.
“Because this process is unprecedented, it was appropriate to accept and consider additional information at the applicants’ request,” Dreyzehner said. “We have receive this additional information and look forward to evaluating it in the next phase of the process.”
Based the state law, TDH now has 120 days to determine whether granting a COPA would meet the legal requirement for clear and convincing evidence that “a merger between the two systems will provide a public benefit to the people impacted in the region”, according to the department.
According to TDH, a public hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 18, at 5:30 p.m. in the Northeast State Community College Auditorium located in Blountville. A deadline for the COPA application is now set for September 19, 2017.

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