Closing date for Ballad Health merger pushed to Jan. 31

Published 3:35 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Having the ability to make sure all details are finalized recently led two health systems to hit the pause button on a pending merger.
The closing date for the merger of Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System to create Ballad Health has extended to Wednesday, Jan. 31, at the request of both health systems.
Parties involved with the merging sent a letter in early December formalizing the request of a deadline extension to Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner to have Virginia able to cipher through all the necessary details.
“The Tennessee terms of certification anticipated that Virginia might take additional time to complete the details of the cooperative agreement due to the Commonwealth’s technical advisory panel process, so a mechanism was included for extending the closing date to accommodate,” MSHA and Wellmont said in a statement emailed to the Elizabethton Star.
According to the letter sent to the TDH, both systems cited giving Virginia more time to complete “necessary preparations.” Another reason for the extension was the proposed federal tax reform legislation.
“The House version of that legislation would prohibit tax-exempt financing for 501(c)(3) organizations, such as the Applicants, after this year. In order to preserve as much flexibility as possible with both entities’ financing options, both Applicants are planning to restructure their bank-held tax-exempt bonds by year end,” the letter read.
Ballad Health — which will service hospitals in Tennessee and Virginia — received the green light from the Commonwealth State on Monday, Oct. 30, when Virginia Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine officially approved the Certificate of Public Advantage (COPA).
The State of Tennessee made the first move in the merger by approving the COPA two months prior to Virginia’s decision.
“Health care is changing and evolving,” Mountain States President/CEO Alan Levine said following Tennessee’s decision at a press conference held in Johnson City. “When you talk to people about where they want to locate their businesses, where they want to leave or where they want to retire, they want a stable, capitalized healthcare system with doctors that can take care of them.”
Following Virginia’s decision to accept the COPA from both health systems, leadership has been officially mapped out for the future of Ballad.
Elizabethton native Dr. David May was one of the 11 regional leaders that were named to the inaugural Ballad Health board of directors, according to a statement released by both health systems.
May will assume the role of Quality Committee Chair of the board. Other members, and their roles for the board, include:
• Alan Levine – Chair/President
• David Lester – Vice Chair/Lead Independent Director
• Keith Wilson – Governance Committee Chair
• Gary Peacock – Finance Committee Chair
• Doug Springer, M.D. – Community Benefit/Population Health Committee Chair
• Barbara Allen – Workforce Committee Chair
• David Golden – Audit/Compliance Committee Chair
• Scott Niswonger – Executive Compensation Chair
• Brian Noland – Ex-Officio Voting Member

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