UCMH to hold public meeting for hospital vote


ERWIN, Tenn. – Unicoi County Memorial Hospital (UCMH) officials announced Wednesday that the hospital’s board of control will hold a public meeting on Oct. 4 to discuss and vote on a letter of intent from Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) to acquire the hospital. Because the hospital’s charter originates from local municipalities, Tennessee Sunshine Laws require the public hearing and review.

At the meeting, members of the public will have the opportunity to hear details of the proposal before the board votes. If the motion passes, UCMH will become MSHA’s 14th hospital in early 2013 after a due diligence process and receipt of any necessary government approvals.

“After reviewing proposals during a series of strategic planning sessions, all the members of the board of control are in agreement that MSHA’s letter of intent is the one that we should present for public review and a vote on Oct. 4,” said Board Chairman Glenn Tilson. “We have a long-standing relationship with the leadership and hospitals of MSHA that has been beneficial to the citizens of Erwin and Unicoi County over the years. We believe that MSHA’s culture and resources will be a good fit for the future healthcare needs of our community.”

MSHA submitted its letter of intent to the UCMH board on Sept. 7 in response to the hospital’s request for proposal.

“We were honored that the UCMH leadership requested a letter of intent from us,” said MSHA President and CEO Dennis Vonderfecht. “The relationship between UCMH and MSHA has for many years been one of trust and mutual respect. We are grateful for the opportunity to outline how we would like to extend that relationship to make a meaningful investment in Unicoi County.”

Outlined in MSHA’s letter of intent, which will be available for public review beginning Sept. 27, are the terms of the health system’s proposal, including:

  • MSHA will extend to UCMH a $1.5 million line of credit to support the hospital until it officially joins the health system in early 2013.
  • On the closing date, MSHA will acquire UCMH’s assets and assume the hospital’s liabilities.
  • MSHA will make a voluntary contribution of $1 million to local municipalities, split evenly between the Town of Erwin and Unicoi County.
  • MSHA will undertake a strategic planning process to determine what healthcare resources fit best in Unicoi County and, within the next five years, will construct a new inpatient facility in Erwin that reflects the community’s needs.

“We believe that MSHA’s existing resources and infrastructure can provide the stability that UCMH needs in order to continue serving the needs of Unicoi County residents,” said Vonderfecht. “We look forward to continuing to work with hospital staff and the community to make UCMH the best hospital it can be.”

About Mountain States Health Alliance

Mountain States Health Alliance, a not-for-profit healthcare organization based in Johnson City, Tenn., operates a family of hospitals serving a 29-county, four-state region (Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Southeastern Kentucky and Western North Carolina). MSHA offers a large tertiary hospital, several community hospitals, two critical access hospitals, rehabilitation, a children’s hospital, a behavioral health hospital, home care and hospice services as well as a comprehensive medical management corporation. Its 13,500 team members, associated physicians and volunteers are committed to its mission of bringing loving care to health care. For more information, visit www.msha.com.

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