Wellmont assumes sole ownership of Takoma Regional

GREENEVILLE, TN (WJHL) – Wellmont Health System, currently moving along in a process that could see it merging with Mountain States Health Alliance, announced Tuesday that it would become the sole owner of Greeneville’s Takoma Regional Hospital.

Wellmont and MSHA announced earlier this year that a merger was being explored.  A merger, if approved, would create an as-yet unnamed health care entity.

Below is the news release from Wellmont regarding the Takoma transfer:

GREENEVILLE – Ownership of Takoma Regional Hospital is transferring to Wellmont Health System, enabling the facility to provide the most efficient continuum of care for patients as part of a locally based organization.

After a comprehensive evaluation by Wellmont and Adventist Health System, Takoma will now become solely a member of the Wellmont family. The two organizations jointly owned Takoma Regional from 2007 until 2014, when they concluded the most appropriate direction for the hospital during a changing health care environment was to have only one owner – Adventist Health System.

When Wellmont and Adventist Health System chose that option, they included a provision that enabled both health systems to re-evaluate the best approach for Takoma Regional in the future. Further discussions since that date led both parties to recognize the value of Takoma Regional being aligned with a health system that provides care exclusively in the region. Adventist Health System has 45 hospitals in 10 states with Takoma Regional being the only hospital in Tennessee.

The change in ownership is expected to be complete Nov. 1.

“We have tried several models these past few years, including a joint venture with Wellmont, and it is evident that the best success for Takoma’s future resides in a wholly owned model with a regional leader,” said Randy Haffner, executive vice president and president/CEO of the multistate division of Adventist Health System. “Wellmont knows Takoma Regional intimately, understands the strengths of the hospital in service to the community and is committed to working with its managers and leaders to build on its heritage to establish a strong future providing excellent care to patients.”

In addition to the hospital, Takoma Medical Associates, the umbrella organization for integrated physicians, will become part of Wellmont. Takoma Medical Associates includes primary care physicians, as well as physicians in a host of specialties, including obstetrics, gynecology, psychiatry, general and orthopedic surgery, neurology and gastroenterology.

Bart Hove, Wellmont’s president and CEO, said the health system is intimately familiar with Takoma Regional and its caregivers and is excited to bring them into the Wellmont network.

“Takoma Regional is an outstanding hospital, with an admirable faith-based approach to medicine and remarkable leadership, and we will welcome their contributions to our delivery of superior health care with compassion,” he said. “We look forward to working with the excellent physicians and other highly skilled medical professionals who have made the hospital a go-to facility for Greene County residents. Their abundant talent will enhance Wellmont’s care model and provide additional expertise for patients.”

Hove said this decision about Takoma Regional has no connection to the proposed merger between Wellmont and Mountain States Health Alliance. But if that merger is finalized following a governmental approval phase that will likely take through the end of the year, Takoma Regional will become part of the new health system, he said.

While Takoma Regional has been part of a different health system for the last year, it has retained connections to Wellmont, particularly with heart care.

The hospital has also maintained an ability to send patients who need a higher level of care to Holston Valley Medical Center and Bristol Regional Medical Center. At these facilities, patients can utilize Wellmont’s two trauma centers and the neonatal intensive care unit, as well as receive other intricate and specialized services. By falling under the same organization, Takoma Regional and Wellmont will have seamless access to each other’s broad array of care.

Among the services offered at Takoma Regional are cardiopulmonary care, diabetes, orthopedics, obstetrics, wound care, behavioral health, occupational medicine, sleep medicine, podiatry and imaging. The hospital has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence.

Takoma Regional was a leader in implementing computerized provider order entry and meeting the federal government’s meaningful use standard for electronic medical records. That fits perfectly with Wellmont, which has met the same benchmarks and also adopted the Epic electronic health record – a single place for all of a patient’s health care delivered by the organization. Through this platform, Wellmont also created MyWellmont, a free and secure portal patients can use to review much of their medical record.

Recently, Takoma Regional was named one of the 150 Great Places to Work in Healthcare by Becker’s Hospital Review. Gov. Bill Haslam has also named the hospital a Healthier Tennessee Workplace in recognition of its promotion of healthy lifestyles to staff members. For seven years, Takoma Regional has also been named The Best Place to Work in the Greeneville Sun’s People’s Choice awards.

“We’re excited about the future of Wellmont with Takoma Regional providing high-quality care for us on the west end of the region,” Hove said. “The ability to share best practices with each other will elevate the quality of care and reinforce how the best patient care is available close to home. Working collaboratively with the team at Takoma Regional, we will provide an experience for patients and their families that exceeds their expectations.”

Copyright WJHL 2015 All rights reserved.

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