Unknown advertiser fighting MSHA-Wellmont merger with mobile ads, website

The following is a screenshot taken of www.tricitiesforaffordablecare.com

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – An unknown advertiser is fighting the proposed Mountain States Health Alliance-Wellmont Health System merger, both in a mobile ad and on a website.

We found an ad on the Johnson City Press’ mobile site which said the merger “means less choice, higher costs.”

The ad brings visitors to an anti-merger website created back in July called Tri-Cities for Affordable Healthcare.

It’s described as a “coalition of consumers, businesses, families and community members in both Tennessee and Virginia who are concerned that the consolidation of hospitals and other medical providers is driving health care costs higher.”

A Mountain States Health Alliance spokesperson said the health system first noticed the website a few months ago, but does not know who is paying for it.

In a statement, Mountain State said in part that Mountain States and Wellmont have maintained this merger will drive down healthcare costs.

The following is a joint statement from MSHA and Wellmont officials:

Since we announced our intent to pursue a merger, Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System have engaged in an active and open public discussion through our community health work groups and other venues. We’ve been energized by the enthusiasm we’ve seen from the community, and we’re committed to building on those collaborative conversations as we create a new approach to health care in our region that ensures affordability, accessibility and high quality.

We are aware of the anonymous site, but given we do not know who is paying for it or who it represents, our only comment is to say that it ignores the market protections and public benefits that are possible under a Certificate of Public Advantage in Tennessee and a cooperative agreement in Virginia, both of which we are pursuing.”

Copyright 2015 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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