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State commissioner appoints Ballad Health compliance advisory council

Johnson City Press • Updated May 23, 2018 at 6:49 PM

A former Kingsport mayor, an East Tennessee State University trustee and a Northeast Tennessee legislator will be among those tasked with advising the state about Ballad Health’s oversight. 

On Wednesday, Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner announced the list of community leaders selected to serve on the inaugural Certificate of Public Advantage Local Advisory Council. The panel’s primary objective will be to facilitate input from residents in Ballad Health’s service area. 

The membership includes: 

• Eleanor Sue Cantrell, MD, Virginia District Health Director
• Brant Kelch, Attorney, Highlands Physicians
• Linda Latimer, MD, East Tennessee State University Board of Trustees Vice Chair
• Gary Mayes, director of the Sullivan County Regional Health Department
• Doug Varney, former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services
• Jerry Miller, MD, Holston Medical Group founder
• Roger Mowen, co-founder of Healthy Kingsport and former senior vice president, Eastman Chemical Company
• Brenda White Wright, former CEO of Girls Inc. of Kingsport
• Dennis Phillips, former mayor of Kingsport

A Ballad Health spokeswoman declined to comment on the appointment of the Local Advisory Council. 

The Local Advisory Council will advise the Department of Health on how to spend the Population Health Initiatives Fund, the account that Ballad Health must pay into fines accrued for violating the COPA and certain past-due monetary obligations. However, Dreyzehner will have the power to veto, approve or modify any recommendations made by the council. 

On at least an annual basis, Local Advisory Council members must review the amount of cash owed and deposited in the Population Health Initiatives Fund. 

Local Advisory Council members will also be tasked with hosting a yearly formal public hearing to gather community feedback on Ballad Health’s performance and its comprehensive annual report. Within 30 days, that feedback will be published in the Local Advisory Council Annual Report to be reviewed by the state and the COPA monitor. 

On Jan. 31, the Tennessee Department of Health issued a COPA to Ballad Health, effectively allowing the merger of Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System under strict state supervision. 

The Local Advisory Council is just one component of the supervision structure, which also includes a COPA Compliance Officer, a COPA Monitor, the state health commissioner and the state’s Division of Health Planning. 

Similar to the COPA monitor and COPA compliance officer, Ballad Health will be obligated to pay any charges related to the Local Advisory Council’s supervision. 

The council is scheduled to hold its first meeting June 6 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Northeast State Community College in Blountville.

For information about the council, the Terms of Certification, the history of the COPA process and other related matters, visit www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/health-planning/certificate-of-public-advantage.html

 

 

 

 

Reported earlier: 

NASHVILLE — A Northeast Tennessee legislator will be among the members of a new state panel to advise the state about Ballad Health’s oversight.

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner announced Wednesday the appointment of members to the inaugural Certificate of Public Advantage Local Advisory Council, including state Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville.

The state of Tennessee issued a Certificate of Public Advantage Jan. 31 allowing the merger of Wellmont Health System and Mountain States Health Alliance into Ballad.

The Department of Health is required by law to actively supervise Ballad to ensure the continuation of the public benefit of the merger.

A Terms of Certification document was created as part of the COPA process and outlines the procedure for active supervision by the state of Ballad Health. This active supervision structure includes a local advisory council that will facilitate input from residents of the geographic area served by Ballad Health. The Terms of Certification require the council be comprised of eight to 10 community leaders and be supported by the TDH Division of Health Planning.

Local advisory council responsibilities include:

• Recommending to TDH how funds in the Population Health Initiatives Fund should be spent

• In coordination with TDH, hosting an annual public hearing to allow a formal process for the public to comment on annual reports from Ballad Health and the COPA Compliance Office and the ongoing performance of Ballad Health

• Publishing the Local Advisory Council Annual Report that incorporates community feedback for review by the COPA monitor and TDH after the annual public hearing

The council is scheduled to hold its first meeting June 6 from 3-5 p.m. at Northeast State Community College in Blountville. The meeting is open to the public. Additional details are available at www.tn.gov/health/calendar.html.

Along with Hawk, members of the COPA Local Advisory Council are:

• Eleanor Sue Cantrell, MD, Virginia District Health Director

• Brant Kelch, Attorney, Highlands Physicians

• Linda Latimer, MD, East Tennessee State University Board of Trustees Vice Chair

• Gary Mayes, director of the Sullivan County Regional Health Department

• Doug Varney, former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services

• Jerry Miller, MD, Holston Medical Group founder

• Roger Mowen, co-founder of Healthy Kingsport and former senior vice president, Eastman Chemical Company

• Brenda White Wright, former CEO of Girls Inc. of Kingsport

• Dennis Phillips, former mayor of Kingsport

For information about the local advisory council, its charge, the Terms of Certification, the history of the COPA process and other related matters, visit www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/health-planning/certificate-of-public-advantage.html.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.

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