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Hospital systems’ future top of mind throughout region

Growing array of outside voices weighs in By Jeff Keeling “We’re talking about things in this region that we never thought possible. We’re having these conversations because there was the disruption of Wellmont saying, ‘we really need to ask difficult questions.’ I applaud Wellmont’s board for the conversation that has begun because they had the wherewithal to say ‘we have to do something differently.’”     ...

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ETSU Quietly Seeking Business Support for Football Program

By Scott Robertson Kick-off is less than a year away for ETSU football, a program rebooting after an 11-year hiatus. The Buccaneers are schedule to play Kennesaw State Sept. 3, 2015 on Steve Spurrier Field at Kermit Tipton Stadium on the campus of Science Hill High School. Tipton Stadium will serve as the temporary home of the Bucs until a new on-campus stadium can be built. Current plans call for the Bucs ...

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OnePartner Signs Mountain States, Optimistic on Wellmont

Health Information Exchange Growth Continues By Scott Robertson What we’re being asked to do by the government and everybody else, quite frankly, is prove that we’re providing quality. If they’re going to pay us a dollar they want to know if they got a dollar’s worth of quality out of this.                                                                                                                        ...

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Jammin Butter having fun making money

Five years in, Internet marketer well past startup status By Jeff Keeling “Bargain hunters. The people who like to grab stuff off the impulsive section in the checkout line. Those are the customers that shop with us.” Vantha Chhoun, Jammin Butter co-owner  “We still maintain a little bit of goofiness. Every website you go to is, ‘here’s this, buy this, ok.’ We would go insane if we had to act like that all ...

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Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources discusses hospitals, free market

The Virginia question -- Could a Wellmont-MSHA merger happen with no COPA law? By Jeff Keeling “The two large systems in Southwest Virginia that are providing most of our care are Bristol and Johnson City-based. So it’s a big deal for us what happens here.”       Dr. Bill Hazel – Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Bill Hazel had some familiarity with the greater Tri-Cities before accepting ...

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Effort to influence Wellmont’s merger strategy spreading

"Hole in the wall gang" continues press for Wellmont-Mountain States merger talks By Jeff Keeling An Aug. 13 email from the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce titled “A Message from Our Mayor: Community Forum Concerning the Future of Local Hospitals” marked the beginning of a high-profile effort to influence Wellmont’s merger strategy. Since that day, and particularly following an Aug. 18 community forum in King ...

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Finally time to do more than pay lip service to regional economic development?

By Scott Robertson We are told the end of what Dennis Vonderfecht once referred to as the Friday night football mentality of economic development is growing near. But we have been told this before. We remember when private sector leaders came together to form a regional alliance for economic development to end the petty battles between Northeast Tennessee’s county economic developers. But we remember how ma ...

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A Closer Look at the Tennessee Promise

It’s a promise…but not a guarantee By Tammy Childress A statewide mentoring program modeled on a successful Knoxville-area effort will be a key component of Tennessee Promise, the new program providing two years of community college or a college of applied technology (TCAT) free of tuition and fees to graduating Tennessee high school seniors. Announced in February, Tennessee Promise is part of Gov. Bill Has ...

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And then there were three

Wellmont's leaders expound on search process By Jeff Keeling Wellmont Health System made it official Jan. 9: To prepare for a successful future in “the rapidly changing healthcare industry,” the not-for-profit provider would spend 2014 “evaluating strategic options,” including the possibility of aligning with another system. Under board of directors guidance and led by a strategic options committee, that pr ...

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MSHA, CIGNA reach new agreement that begins Oct. 1

Two sides "never stopped talking" after 2011 rift By Scott Robertson Photos by Scott Robertson Almost three years to the day after Mountain States Health Alliance and CIGNA announced they would no longer be doing business together, the two companies have reached agreement on a new deal that will once again allow Cigna customers to access Mountain States facilities and services at in-network rates. The three ...

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