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Ballad Health selects new COPA compliance officer

Johnson City Press • Jan 8, 2020 at 1:25 PM

Ballad Health has selected a new officer to oversee its compliance with the public documents issued in Tennessee and Virginia that govern the merger of Wellmont Health System and Mountain States Health Alliance.

Tennessee’s Certificate of Public Advantage and Virginia’s Letter Authorizing the Cooperative Agreement allowed the formation of Ballad Health.

In a letter to staff, which Ballad shared with local media, Ballad Health Chairman and CEO Alan Levine said COPA Compliance Officer Gary Miller has decided to retire. Miller previously served as Wellmont Health Systems’s general counsel.

“During his long tenure at Wellmont, Gary played a vital role in so many efforts on behalf of the health system, its physicians and the community,” Levine wrote. “I was very pleased when, upon the merger being closed, Gary agreed to remain and to serve as the COPA Compliance Officer.”

Levine said Miller will be replaced by Karen Guske, who will serve in the role of senior vice president of corporate responsibility and the COPA compliance officer. She will begin work on Jan. 13. Miller will continue to serve until the end of January, assisting Guske in the transition.

Guske has worked for the last 15 years in various roles at Eastman Chemical Company, serving most recently as the director of public policy and the chief privacy officer.

“I anticipate that Karen’s experience will help Ballad as we become one of the leading health systems operating under governance which is a national best practice,” Levine wrote.

The following letter was sent to Ballad Health employees Wednesday morning from Ballad Health chairman and CEO Alan Levine:

“Good Morning:

As you know, the merger creating Ballad Health required the creation of significant internal and external structures in order to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Certificate of Public Advantage in Tennessee, and the Letter Authorizing the Cooperative Agreement in Virginia. During the last two years, the internal compliance function was established under the oversight of our Board of Directors Audit and Compliance Committee. Gary Miller has served as the COPA Compliance Officer, and it has been the work of Gary and his staff which have established the foundation for the work of the office. They deserve enormous credit for the work they have done.

Compliance with the provisions of our state oversight is very important. And because of this, we seek to ensure the compliance function for the COPA is led by someone experienced and capable.

After a long and very productive career as a lawyer, general counsel and most recently, as the COPA Compliance Officer, Gary Miller has decided to retire. Prior to his service as the COPA Compliance Officer, Gary served as Wellmont Health System’s General Counsel. During his long tenure at Wellmont, Gary played a vital role in so many efforts on behalf of the health system, its physicians and the community. I was very pleased when, upon the merger being closed, Gary agreed to remain and to serve as the COPA Compliance Officer.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Audit and Compliance Committee of the Board, I can say that Gary’s efforts over the past two years are appreciated, and all of us wish for his retirement to be everything he hopes for. He is a good person, and he will be missed by his colleagues.

Gary was kind enough to give us ample time to plan for a transition when he informed us of his decision to retire, which provided us with an opportunity to seek a highly qualified individual to step into the role.

I am pleased to announce to you that Karen Guske has accepted the role of Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and COPA Compliance Officer. Karen will work alongside Paige Carter, who serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Audit and Compliance Officer. All non-COPA related compliance matters remain under the purview of the existing compliance program.

Karen, who will begin work on January 13, has a rare skill set that will be enormously beneficial to Ballad Health.

For the last 15 years, Karen has worked in a variety of roles with Eastman Chemical Company, where she most recently served as director of public policy and chief privacy officer. She has served as Director of Corporate Audit Services and Global Business Conduct, and has had responsibility for reporting under the Security Exchange Commission, including the filing of official SEC related documents and disclosures. She has extensive experience in Audit and Compliance, and her breadth of experience extends into the areas of corporate responsibility and governance. I anticipate that Karen’s experience will help Ballad as we become one of the leading health systems operating under governance which is a national best practice.

A native of Texas, Karen attended Texas Tech University, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and a Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM).

Karen lives in Kingsport with her husband and two children.

Gary Miller will continue to serve until the end of January, and he and Karen will work together over the next several weeks as they transition the office.

Please join me in congratulating Gary Miller for a successful career full of contribution, and in welcoming Karen to our team! We are certainly excited to have had such great talent, and to be attracting such great talent!

Thank you and God bless!”

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