WJHL.com - Sale of Unicoi County Memorial Hospital delayed

Sale of Unicoi County Memorial Hospital delayed

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News Channel 11 has learned the sale of the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital has been delayed by the Tennessee Attorney General.

The Attorney General express three concerns delaying the approval of the sale of UCMH to Mountain States Health Alliance.

The AG's office says (1) it wants the transaction to be approved by both the city and the county; (2) it wants the board to hold public informational meetings discussing the reason for choosing MSHA's proposal; and (3), the AG's office says it wants assurance the proposed $1.5 million contributed by the city and the county by MSHA will be used for health care purposes only.  

The UCMH's Board tells News Channel 11  "the proposal from MSHA best meets the needs of all the county residents…We are confident that any objective review of the documents will lead to the same conclusion."

UCMH says it's told "state officials the hospital's line of credit with MSHA is nearly exhausted, and the hospital is in dire financial straits."

The sale of the hospital triggered the latest in a series of public squabbles between MSHA and its chief competitor Wellmont Health System which also made a bid to buy the facility in Erwin.

Below are statements issued by both businesses late Wednesday.



The following is a press release from Wellmont Health System:

Wellmont Health System is pleased with the decision of the Tennessee Attorney General's office, and we believe it represents the best interests of Unicoi County. We need to wait until the upcoming process is defined further by the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital Board of Control before we can prepare for next steps.

Jim Wozniak, Media Relations Coordinator, Wellmont Health System


The following is a press release from Mountain States Health Alliance: 

We believe the hospital board followed the proper procedures in evaluating which proposal was in the best interest of the residents of Unicoi County, and we are disappointed that the state attorney general does not feel the same way about the process. MSHA remains committed to meeting the needs of Unicoi County residents, however, and we are eager to work with the UCMH Board of Control to address all of the outstanding issues.

The residents of Unicoi County deserve nothing less than the best in their health care, and MSHA has done much over the past eight months to support the hospital's operations and make improvements during this interim period. There is a great deal of assistance that the hospital still requires, however, that we cannot legally do until the sale is final. MSHA stands ready to make every necessary resource available to the hospital upon receiving permission from the State of Tennessee.

Dennis Vonderfecht, MSHA President and CEO 

Copyright 2013 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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