MSHA makes progress in acquisition of Unicoi County hospital

Brad Hicks • Dec 22, 2012 at 8:24 PM

ERWIN — Some work has already been done and more is planned before Mountain States Health Alliance’s acquisition of Unicoi County Memorial Hospital becomes official.

In late November, the UCMH Board of Control opted to move forward with MSHA’s acquisition proposal over one submitted by Wellmont Health System. Commitments MSHA included in its proposal were to provide voluntary contributions of $750,000 each to Unicoi County and the town of Erwin, a $1 million contribution to a foundation to enhance health care services within the county, a $2 million line of credit to sustain UCMH’s operations through the transaction’s closing and assumption of all UCMH’s debt and financial obligations.

MSHA also committed to the construction of a new acute care facility within Erwin.

MSHA has already taken some action to complete items outlined in its acquisition proposal.

“We have signed the letter of intent and the interim management agreement with Unicoi County Memorial Hospital’s Board of Control, as well as the agreement for the $2 million line of credit, which the hospital can now begin drawing from as needed to support daily operations,” said Tim Belisle, MSHA vice president of corporate compliance and general legal counsel.

The interim management agreement has left UCMH Interim Consultant CEO Jete Edmisson with Spectrum Health Partners still onboard at the hospital. Spectrum Health Partners was previously hired by the board to conduct an operational overview at UCMH, is still onboard.

The transaction’s definitive agreement is set to be completed in February, after which the transaction will be reviewed by the state attorney general’s office upon notification by the Board of Control.

“We are currently working with legal counsel for the UCMH Board of Control to prepare a final definitive agreement, which is expected to be completed by mid-February,” Belisle said. “After that agreement has been signed by both parties, the UCMH Board of Control will officially notify the Tennessee attorney general’s office of the transaction.”

According to state law, the sale of a public hospital must be reviewed by the state attorney general. Within 45 days of receiving written notice of the sale, the attorney general will notify the hospital of a decision to either object to the transaction or take no action.

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