In Virginia, the process would be based on HB 2316, which is waiting for the signature of Gov. Terry McAuliffe by mid-April. That costs would develop the mechanism for the health care systems to combine assets and is similar to an existing procedure in Tennessee.
When ratified by boards of both health care systems, the merger application need to be examined and authorized by the independent Southwest Virginia Health Authority before being sent to the commissioner of health and state attorneyattorney general of the united states.
“It might be an amazing time for healthcare in Southwest Virginia and upper East Tennessee,” said state Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, who was primary client of the bill and functions as chairman of the health authority. “That’s why we have to see to it we follow the law and address those concerns about meeting some of those health care needs we have, specifically in the coalfields. I believe together, as a group, bringing Wellmont and Mountain States together, I think they can address that and put a few of those energies towards satisfying those requirements instead of competitors.”
In an email to system workers, Wellmont CEO Bart Hove and board Chairman Roger Leonard laid out the proposed procedure.
“After our boards have actually executed a term sheet and following a period of due diligence and integration analysis, we expect to sign a definitive contract, which is the next formal step in solidifying the integration of our 2 systems,” according to the e-mail. “The conclusive arrangement will certainly be followed by a procedure to obtain Tennessee and Virginia approvals of the merger, which will likely take us through completion of 2015.”
Kilgore predicted that part of the health authority approval procedure could occur rapidly.
“It’s going to need to move pretty quick. I would state 60 to 90 days,” Kilgore said. “We’ve got to get a suggestion to the commissioner of health and they need to have some kind of hearings, too. We need to move quickly.”
The matter should also be examined by the office of Virginia AttorneyChief law officer Mark Herring, who was in Bristol Wednesday to discuss a brand-new coal bed methane royalty law.
“I have actually seen reports that there is a possibility of a merger of two health center systems,” Herring stated. “If that goes ahead, they will be submitting a formal application with our office. That has not taken place yet, however if it does, exactly what I’m going to do is collect as much information as I can and ensure that this merger is going to be greatbenefit the people of the southwest. That’s actually what my responsibility is.
“Our workplace is needed, anytime there are not-for-profit business like this coming together, we examine it to make certain it’s in the general public interest. My leading duty is going to be making sure it’s in the finestthe very best interest of the peopleindividuals of Southwest Virginia,” he added.
With a single healthcare company, some public officials have actually voiced issues about the prospective effecteffect on workers.
“There has actually been some reference of issues and that’s something we need to look at, to see to it not only possible healthcare facility closures, however the possibility of keeping those tasks,” Kilgore said. “With merging, I believe there are possibilities of treating compounddrug abuse and mental health that we do not attend to now due to the fact that everybody’s attempting to contend. Compound abuse and mental abuse are huge issues and, today, we’re sending folks from the area to obtain treatment.”
Kilgore praised the plan.
“I believe it could be really advantageous to the region due to the fact that bringing the 2 gamers together is going to enable us to have some opportunities we didn’t have,” Kilgore said. “I think we have a blank page and now we have the opportunity to write in how healthcare will be provided and how health care need to enhance.”
In Tennessee, the 2 systems prepare to collectively request a certification of public benefit from the state Department of Health, which would then examine the request to make certain it fulfills the standards of public excellent and would not create unnecessary difficulties.
“According to our legal counsel, a certificate of public advantage is not needed in a merger arrangement in between medical facilities, however is a way for companies to secure themselves from anti-trust liability,” department spokesperson Expense Christian wrote in an e-mail.
The state health department can hold a public hearing on the matter and need to give or reject the application within 90 days of the filing date, according to Tennessee law governing health facilities.
“After examination with and arrangement from the attorney general, the department shall issue a certificate of public advantage for a cooperative contract, if it determines that the applicants have demonstrated by clear and convincing proof that the likely benefits resulting from the agreement outweigh any disadvantages attributable to a decrease in competitors that may arise from the arrangement,” according to the code.
The COPA procedure should identify whether the merger would produce several benefits, including enhanced medical facility care, conservation of hospital centers, gains in cost efficiency, improvements in the use of resources and preventing duplication of hospital resources, according to the code.
It needs to also determine if a merger and reduced competitors would produce negative effects to physicians, employees and “the extent of any likely negative impactinfluence on clients in the quality, accessibility and cost of healthcare services.”
This procedure also enables the Tennessee attorney general to seek advice fromspeak with the US Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission.
Personnel author Allie Gibson added to this report.