Kingsport Times News Saturday, October 25, 2014

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Wellmont tells BMA it’s not in crisis mode

January 30th, 2014 10:45 pm by Matthew Lane

Wellmont tells BMA it’s not in crisis mode

KINGSPORT — Wellmont Health System is exploring strategic options for the organization’s future, including the possibility of aligning with another health system. However, Wellmont is not in a crisis mode and changes are not being forced upon the organization, Tim Attebery, the interim president of Holston Valley Medical Center, recently told the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Wellmont made an announcement earlier this month the organization was undertaking a strategic planning initiative to better secure its future. The decision was made by the Wellmont Board of Directors in December after talks with a consulting firm, Attebery said.

“Everyone in health care is facing unprecedented challenges,” Attebery told the BMA. “We’ve never seen this type of scope, pace and unpredictability in the marketplace. The level of unknown is very high.” 

Attebery called the decision to begin the exploratory process “forward thinking,” saying Wellmont is reviewing future options from a position of clinical strength and relative financial stability.

“We’re not in a crisis and it’s not time to panic. Things aren’t being forced upon us,” Attebery said. “The best time to explore options is when you don’t have to do anything.” 

Attebery’s presentation to the BMA last week included a brief Powerpoint presentation outlining the reason behind the strategy, the challenges health care systems are facing nationally and Wellmont’s vision for the assessment. The presentation is the same one Wellmont has shown its employees and will likely be used in upcoming town hall meetings about the organization’s current situation.

Earlier this month, Wellmont noted health-care providers are struggling with low patient volumes, reimbursement cuts and possible performance penalties under Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Friday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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