ROGERSVILLE – On the eve of its fourth anniversary, Wellmont Health System today welcomed a fourth hospital member to its regionwide network of providers.
Officials from Wellmont and Hawkins County Memorial Hospital gathered with physicians, employees and community leaders this afternoon to celebrate the organizations’ new alliance, which becomes official at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 1.
Hawkins County Memorial joins Bristol Regional Medical Center, Holston Valley Medical Center and Lonesome Pine Hospital as a partner in the region’s premier healthcare system.
“When our Board of Directors began searching for a partner to provide long-term strength and stability to our hospital, it very quickly became evident there could be no better choice than Wellmont Health System,” said Claude Parrott, Chairman of the Hawkins County Memorial Board of Directors. “Today, I am proud to stand side by side with Wellmont as we make strong health care stronger for all the people of our community.”
Hawkins County Memorial Administrator Frank Testerman said an affiliation with Wellmont will enable the hospital to add new services and technologies to improve the quality and scope of care at the 50-bed facility. Additionally, Testerman said, Hawkins County Memorial as part of a regional healthcare system will enjoy greater buying power and improved access to managed-care contracts that will strengthen the hospital’s financial position.
“In an industry as volatile as health care, there is certainly strength in numbers,” Testerman said. “This new partnership will help ensure our hospital’s continued ability to meet the healthcare needs of the people of Hawkins County close to home.”
Hawkins County Memorial will begin reaping the benefits of the new affiliation almost immediately, said Eddie George, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wellmont. Construction of a new medical office building on the hospital campus will begin in July, and upgrades in information technology and laboratory services are planned in the coming months.
Efforts to recruit additional physicians to the Hawkins County community are already under way, George said.
“As a member of the Wellmont system, Hawkins County Memorial will be empowered to meet the community’s healthcare needs as never before,” George said. “New technologies will be added, new physicians will be recruited, and patients will have seamless access to the vast array of services our health system offers.
“Through the years, our two organizations have had a strong history of cooperation and collaboration. As one organization, we will build upon that history and begin an exciting new chapter in health care in Hawkins County.”
The new partnership will strengthen not only Hawkins County Memorial but all of the Wellmont system, said Fielding Rolston, Wellmont Chairman of the Board.
“Wellmont Health System through partnerships such as this one is growing better and stronger,” Rolston said. “With each new partnership, with each new advancement, with each new endeavor, we renew our commitment to our vision to make Wellmont a national model of excellence for the provision of healthcare and wellness services.”