FTC, Soutwest VA Health Authority meet to discuss possible hospital merger

Wellmont and Mountain States MSHA

ABINGDON, VA (WJHL) –  Members of the Federal Trade Commission are in the Tri-Cities weighing in  on a proposal for our region’s two largest health systems to merge into a new company.

Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System announced last year that they needed to merge into a single company.

Because the new company to be called Ballad Health would constitute a monopoly, the states of Tennessee and Virginia change the law to create state oversight to protect consumers.

Right now, both health systems are waiting for state approval..

For months, the Federal Trade Commission has expressed its opposition to the merger.  The FTC sayd the merger would create a monopoly taht could have a negative impact — a claim the former rival companyies strongly deny.

Earlier this month, the FTC asked the State of Virginia to deny the merger application, citing significant concerns about patient care and pricing under the merger.

The FTC also says the committments laid out in the systems applications to merge are too vague and not enforceable.

Representatives from the Federal Trade Commission are in the Tri-Cities to discuss their concerns with the Southwest Virginia Health Authority Board about the proposed merger between the two hospital systems.

In addition, the CEOs of both health systems will address the board.

News Channel 11’s Allie Hinds taking notes at the meeting that’s being held at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va.

We will bring you the latest reaction from the FTC and the board beginning on the news at 5:00 p.m.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.M

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