Wellmont Voices Concerns Over Unicoi Board Process; Considers Proposals Null and Void

Based on concerns raised by the Tennessee attorney general's office, Wellmont Health System officials believe the process used by the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital Board of Control to select a proposal for the sale of its hospital did not meet legal requirements.

As a result of an internal legal analysis, Wellmont officials consider both its proposal and the proposal of Mountain States Health Alliance to be null and void. Given that stance, Wellmont will not participate in the open meeting to be held Thursday, July 18.

"According to our legal advice, the proper remedy for these violations is for the board to issue another request for proposals and follow a legal, broad and transparent process from this point forward," said Denny DeNarvaez, Wellmont's president and CEO. "Merely re-evaluating the two proposals in an open meeting such as the one scheduled later this week is not sufficient."

In a letter dated June 25, the attorney general's office detailed several concerns it had with the process the board used to ultimately select a proposal, including potential violations of the state's Open Meetings Act.

"We simply want what's in the best interests of the people of Unicoi County," DeNarvaez said. "And an open, honest process is clearly in their best interests.

"We continue to be humbled and appreciative of the tremendous support we've received from the residents of that community, and we will continue to work to ensure the process used to determine the sale of their hospital is transparent and fair."