Wellmont Health System, a Kingsport, Tenn.-based not-for-profit hospital system, has ended its relationship with Quorum Health Resources, the management arm of Brentwood, Tenn.-based Quorum Health Group.
Quorum had managed the not-for-profit Wellmont hospitals for three years. Before the system was formed in 1996, Quorum managed Wellmont's 339-bed Bristol (Tenn.) Regional Medical Center.
"While we're disappointed that we aren't going to continue a relationship with them, we believe we left with the health system in a strategic and operationally strong position," said Quorum spokeswoman Shea Davis. "We are disappointed, but we always respect a local community's decision to do the right thing for their health system."
Quorum is the subject of a federal investigation that has alleged widespread Medicare fraud at the hospitals the company owns and manages.
Earlier this year, the system backed away from its relationship with Quorum, changing from a management contract to a consulting contract, with an option to terminate every 90 days. The decision followed a vote of no confidence by a group of physicians at one of the system's hospitals, 384-bed Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport (April 5, p. 37).
Then late last month the system took the issue one step further, severing ties with Quorum and requiring all executives, including the system's President and Chief Executive Officer Eddie George, to become Wellmont employees. George had previously been a Quorum employee.
The Wellmont board decided not to extend the contract based on a cost-benefit analysis, according to a written release. Wellmont spokeswoman Margie Shealy said she did not know the cost of the Quorum contract, nor the financial impact of severing it.
In addition to the two Tennessee hospitals, Wellmont includes 54-bed Lonesome Pine Hospital in Big Stone Gap, Va.