Feds set to check Ballad's COPA pulse

Hank Hayes • Jun 17, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Ballad Health’s Certificate of Public Advantage (COPA) will get a checkup from the federal government on Tuesday.

The Federal Trade Commission will hold a workshop in Washington, D.C., called “A Health Check on COPAs: Assessing the impact of Certificates of Public Advantage in Healthcare Markets.”

The event will be livestreamed at: www.ftc.gov.

At 1:45 p.m., Ballad Health’s COPA will be the subject of a panel discussion.

Those panelists will include Erin C. Fuse Brown, associate professor of law at Georgia State University; Richard G. Cowart, shareholder, Baker Donelson; Scott Fowler, president and CEO, Holston Medical Group; Joseph Hilbert, deputy commissioner for Governmental and Regulatory Affairs, Virginia Department of Health; Janet M. Kleinfelter, deputy attorney general, Public Interest Division, Office of the Tennessee Attorney General; Daniel J. Pohlgeers, owner, Sunesis Medical Consulting; and John B. Syer, Jr., vice president, East Region Networks, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia.

Concerning the event, Ballad Health had this statement: “This is an FTC event, and we are grateful to have an opportunity to provide information we hope will be helpful. Other than that, we have no expectations.”

The Ballad Health COPA became effective in January 2018 and allowed the merger of Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System.

Ballad Health recently reported the merger is working.

“Ballad Health’s third quarter operational performance was strong due to the focus by our team members and affiliated physicians on delivering excellent care while being good stewards of these important health care institutions,” said Alan Levine, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ballad Health. “I am proud of the focus on quality and collaboration with the community, and we continue to see that improved quality leads to lower cost and positive financial performance for our health system.”

Ballad Health also recently announced a $10 million investment into increasing direct care nursing and nursing support salaries, a direct result of improved financial performance.

The Tennessee Department of Health also reported Ballad Health is in compliance with the merger’s Terms of Certification. Among the health system’s successes, the state noted: Hospitals which were under threat of closure remain open, countering a widely reported national trend of rural hospital closures and fewer layoffs than expected.