Actions by Ballad Health are unleashing more than $310 million of investment into two community foundations in rural Southwest Virginia.
The health system has partnered with both the Wellspring Foundation (formerly the Johnston Memorial Healthcare Foundation) and the Smyth County Community Foundation in agreements that restructure both long-time hospital partnerships and pave the way for new population health initiatives and investments throughout Southwest Virginia.
“The partnerships between Ballad Health and these two community foundations have been some of the most productive and successful I’ve ever seen,” said Ballad Health Chairman and CEO Alan Levine. “Both the Wellspring Foundation and the Smyth County Community Foundation have been steadfast supporters of Ballad Health’s mission, and similarly, we strongly support their goals and visions for the future. This announcement is historic in terms of the resources it will unlock.”
The Wellspring Foundation is a new independent entity that was created when Johnston Memorial Healthcare Foundation recently sold its minority ownership stake in Johnston Memorial Hospital to Ballad. Ballad Health had previously acquired 50.1 percent of the hospital in 2009 when operating as Mountain State Health Alliance. The Wellspring Foundation is valued at $281 million and is primed to begin work to improve the quality of health of residents in Washington County, Virginia.
“Ballad Health’s purchase of the Foundation’s remaining portion of assets generates a number of advantages for residents of our immediate region,” said William H. “Bill” Hayter, chair of the board for Wellspring. “We now have the financial and operational independence needed to begin investing in initiatives that increase health and well-being for residents of Washington County, Virginia, and neighboring communities.”
Likewise, Ballad Health will now be the sole owner of Smith County Community Hospital in Marion, Virginia. Ballad previously owned 80 percent of the shares.
By restructuring the partnerships, Ballad claims more than $310 million can be opened and invested into the local community foundations, which will support other charitable organizations, community health initiatives, educational activities, workforce development and education for the healthcare workforce in Washington, Russell, Smyth, Wythe and Grayson counties, among other initiatives consistent with the goals agreed to by each foundation and Ballad Health.
“This new partnership brings the best of all options to Southwest Virginia,” Levine said. “The hospitals will continue to be operated by people the communities have become familiar with, while at the same time, unleashing historic investment into the communities served by these critically important assets we have also invested so much in. The relationship we have with the people of Southwest Virginia could not be more important now that we are moving forward together with these exciting initiatives.”