Mountain States, Wellmont CEOs release name of new health system pending merger approval

While the companies have a new name, they still don't have approval to create a new organization.

Courtesy of MSHA/WELLMONT
Courtesy of MSHA/WELLMONT

(WJHL) – Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System CEOs announced Wednesday the name they’ve chosen for the new health system pending approval of the two systems merger.

According to a news release, if approved, the new health system will be called Ballad Health, with a tag line of “It’s your story. We’re listening.”

“Defining our culture begins with the name and tag line we attach to ourselves. The name selected reflects the importance of each individual’s life story in the provider-patient relationship and the distinct character and heritage of our region,” according to the release.

The following is the full release issued by CEOs Alan Levine and Bart Hove:

Dear Wellmont co-workers and physicians:

As you know, we have been engaged in the activities necessary to bring Wellmont and Mountain States together as a new health delivery system. I couldn’t be more proud of the work so many people are doing in order to ensure success with this transition. And I’m talking about you.

Each day, you come to work. The first thing you do is you listen. You listen to your patients explain how they feel. You listen to your colleagues when they give you reports. You listen to the sounds of monitors, and you listen when a patient calls. Each day, with each human transaction you engage in, you participate in the story of that person’s life.

What a special thing. Which brings me to our region.

Like no other, our region’s history is deeply lived through our stories and our music. We never run from challenges; we embrace them, together. Our passion is to understand the unique story of each person’s health and well-being and to contribute our part. Together, Wellmont and Mountain States, as a new health system, will prove good health is achievable by truly hearing each person’s story, and by listening.

And so, today, I’m privileged to be able to share with you an important decision made last night by our Joint Board Task Force – the group of women and men who will govern our new health system. Defining our culture begins with the name and tag line we attach to ourselves. The name selected reflects the importance of each individual’s life story in the provider-patient relationship and the distinct character and heritage of our region.

Once our merger is approved, Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System will become Ballad Health. And our tag line will be, “It’s your story. We’re listening”.

This name and associated tag line reflect the culture of our region, and importantly, the culture we wish to have as a new health system. A culture steeped in focusing on the individual stories of our patients and their families. Think about what a privilege this is….each patient trusts us with their most important stories, and we get to be in the front row. There is nothing more important than trust in this relationship.

The new name reflects the input received from over 400 local health care consumers, physicians and team members from both health systems. We found the most important attribute local patients look for in their health care provider is, “listening to patients and including them in healthcare decisions” followed closely by, “provides the best medical results” and, “takes the time to explain things clearly.”

Good health is about more than health care; it’s about the story of our lives. Recognizing and listening to the unique story of each and every patient will be the hallmark of our new organization. We will give our patients’ stories our undivided attention because we cherish the fact that they are sharing them with us.

With a decision on our new name, the logo and other elements that will form our new brand can be developed. These will be released once our merger is finalized. In addition, work continues on developing our mission and vision statements, as well developing a collaborative process for Ballad Health team members to define the new organization’s values, which will become our guiding principles.

Our new name is deliberately different, and it is bold. Why? Because we want to be a different kind of health system, building on the promises we made when we embarked on this merger journey.

The proposed merger is currently under review by state officials in both Tennessee and Virginia. We are so grateful for all of the feedback and support we’ve received during the dozens of public meetings that have taken place to date. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the fact that we can now look forward to becoming better together under our new name, Ballad Health: It’s your story. We’re listening.

While the companies have a new name, they still don’t have approval to create a new organization.

Because a merger would create a monopoly, the states of Tennessee and Virginia have to sign off on the deal and provide state oversight with the aim of protecting the people of the region.

A public comment period on the application in Virginia is underway.

See also: Public comment period underway in Virginia on hospital merger plan

In Tennessee, the Department of Health still considers the merger application incomplete.

TN health commissioner attends final public comment about COPA application

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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