Healthcare Business News

Wellmont narrows down search for partner system

By Beth Kutscher
Posted: June 11, 2014 - 3:30 pm ET

Wellmont Health System, which is seeking a partner to help address financial challenges, has narrowed the field of suitors to six undisclosed health systems.

The seven-hospital system, based in Kingsport, Tenn., began evaluating its strategic options this year and is working with consulting firm Kaufman Hall & Associates. Nine organizations responded to its request for proposals and six met its partnership criteria.

Wellmont is about halfway through its review and expects its board of directors to make final recommendations in the fall, a news release said. A partner could be selected as soon as December.

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In a financial report for fiscal 2013 (PDF), ended June 30, Wellmont reported a surplus of $31.4 million on revenue of $798.2 million. That represented a deterioration from its $39.8 million surplus on $788.4 million in revenue the previous fiscal year.

Yet Wellmont stressed that despite its financial challenges, it is continuing to make investments in its community (PDF).

The system said that it provided an $86 million community benefit in fiscal 2013, including $70 million in uncompensated care and $6 million in health and wellness programs. Wellmont hospitals write off all charges for uninsured patients making less than twice the federal poverty level and 60% of charges for patients above that threshold.

Other investments included building its electronic health-record capabilities, including the MyWellmont patient portal; expanding its cancer-care facilities and adding new technology for radiation oncology; and opening urgent-care facilities in two markets and remodeling two emergency departments.

Follow Beth Kutscher on Twitter: @MHbkutscher

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