Systems’ leaders say decision shouldn’t impact merger
Alice Pope, Wellmont Health System’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, will become the new chief financial officer for HonorHealth in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Pope will continue serving in her Wellmont leadership position, which she has held for 3 ½ years, for the next 60 days and will assist in a smooth transition. She has worked for Wellmont for 16 years, steadily advancing to positions of increasing responsibility.
“This decision wasn’t easy for a variety of reasons and is based solely on achieving my personal and professional goals at a key point in my life,” Pope said. “I wanted to make a decision now that would position me well for the future. I am very thankful for my long tenure with Wellmont and for the opportunity to grow professionally here and develop so many strong and meaningful relationships.”
Pope communicated that the timing is in part to allow strategic decisions to be made here for Wellmont and for the new health system that would result from the proposed merger of Wellmont and Mountain States Health Alliance.
In the term sheet and applications for a Certificate of Public Advantage in Tennessee and cooperative agreement in Virginia, Pope was designated to serve as the proposed new health system’s chief financial officer. The CFO position for the proposed new health system will be evaluated by both systems given Pope’s departure. The change is not expected to impact the proposed merger itself.
Pope said she respects the leaders of Wellmont and Mountain States and unequivocally supports the two organizations coming together.
“I firmly believe this proposed merger is in the best interest of both organizations and, most importantly, in the interest of the patients they serve across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia,” Pope said. “I’m excited about what this opportunity means for the region’s health and well-being, as well as for the unique care model it will create nationally.”
Bart Hove, Wellmont’s president and CEO, commended Pope for her performance since she joined Wellmont in 2000 and for her stewardship of the health system’s finances as CFO.
“Alice’s leadership has been instrumental in Wellmont’s financial strength and in our ability to meet the health care needs of the region,” Hove said. “She has made a significant impact, and we have benefited greatly from her intellect and impressive financial knowledge. She has also built an excellent team within our finance department, and I am confident those co-workers will continue to capably manage our finances as we decide how to administer the responsibilities she is vacating.”
Among her earlier duties, Pope served as CFO of Holston Valley Medical Center during the development and implementation of Project Platinum, a $114 million renovation and expansion of the hospital. Immediately prior to becoming Wellmont’s CFO, she served as the health system’s senior vice president of finance, with oversight of the revenue cycle and managed care components.
In her present role, where she oversees $800 million in annual revenue, Pope restructured Wellmont’s debt to lower the health system’s interest rate to about 3 percent. That reduced yearly interest expense by $2 million. She also played a significant role in the implementation of the Epic electronic health record and revamping of the organization’s revenue cycle using that platform.
“Wellmont’s board of directors and the finance committee have the deepest respect for Alice and her business acumen,” said Roger Mowen, who serves as committee chairman and a board member. “She has demonstrated extraordinary skill during some of the most challenging times in the health care industry and has proven herself as one of the brightest minds in finance. Through her efforts, Wellmont is well-positioned for further progress as we build on our well-established foundation to navigate the headwinds of reform.”