“Next Friday marks the one-year anniversary that Ballad Health was formed with the merger of Wellmont Health System and Mountain States Health Alliance,” Ballad Health’s Eric Deaton, senior vice president of Market Operations, told business leaders at the breakfast. “This merger of our local health care systems was necessary. It was necessary to preserve and strengthen our delivery of health care in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.”
Deaton noted Wellmont had embarked on a search for a partner.
“Whether you supported the merger or not, the goal of the Wellmont board at that time was to create something better for our future,” Deaton pointed out. “If a local merger had not been in place, a potential merger of either or both systems with outside corporations could have meant immediate closure of some of our rural hospitals. It would also have meant elimination of thousands of jobs and elimination of services in our community. … Those decisions would have been made by a board of directors that live in Nashville or Charlotte.”
Ballad Health, said Deaton, will continue to maintain three trauma centers in the region, with Johnson City Medical Center being at Level One status and Holston Valley Medical Center and Bristol Regional Medical Center being at Level Three status.
“Holston Valley will continue to be a great trauma center moving forward,” said Deaton, who noted that a pediatric emergency department will be developed at Holston Valley.
Still, Ballad Health Northwest Market President Monty McLaurin said social media has not been very fair to the announced changes at Holston Valley Medical Center.
“It has clouded a lot of facts,” said McLaurin, who said Ballad Health will be making millions of dollars in investments in neurosurgery, cardiovascular and diagnostics in Kingsport.
Lindy White was also introduced at the chamber breakfast as Ballad Health’s vice president and CEO of Kingsport Market Operations.
“My love is to be alongside front-line care givers in these hospitals,” said White, who oversees both Holston Valley Medical Center and Indian Path Community Hospital. She noted that in just the first 10 days in her new position that she has already held more than 20 listening sessions with staff from all three shifts and has attended hand-offs between shifts.
Special video message from Alan Levine: Creating a culture of trust - Ballad Health News