Takoma Returning To Full Adventist Health System Ownership, Continuing Partnerships With Wellmont

A thorough strategic assessment and review of the nation's changing healthcare environment has led Wellmont Health System and Adventist Health System to conclude ownership of Takoma Regional Hospital would best be placed with one organization.

The two health systems have reached agreement to return Takoma Regional to AHS' full ownership. Wellmont and AHS, which have jointly owned and governed the hospital since 2007, will continue to collaborate on several projects at the hospital, including delivery of high-quality heart care from the nationally recognized Wellmont CVA Heart Institute.

The ownership change is expected to be finalized by June 30.

"Takoma could have aligned completely with either Adventist Health System or Wellmont. With Wellmont's support, Takoma's management and operating systems have remained closest to Adventist Health System," said Daniel Wolcott, the hospital's president. "With the challenges all of us face in health care, it just makes sense at this juncture to be fully aligned with one partner.But we are pleased the relationships and connections we established during the Wellmont partnership will continue to bring benefit to Greene County residents."

Wolcott said AHS and Wellmont have worked together to enhance the care experience for Takoma's patients. But many components of the hospital's operations were not integrated into Wellmont, and Takoma still uses much of AHS' technology and procedures, all of which was part of the original agreement.

"Our electronic medical record is shared with Adventist Health System, as are the hospital's clinical protocols and human resources and compliance policies," Wolcott said. "As we seek to pursue new models of care delivery and payment reform during a period of enormous change in the healthcare industry, the ongoing alignment of these systems is critical."

Takoma has played a major role in Greene County's development for 86 years, delivering faith-based care to the community. Denny DeNarvaez, Wellmont's president and CEO, said this impressive history of holistic care made Takoma an excellent partner for Wellmont seven years ago. But she said the change to put Takoma under one umbrella will serve the hospital's best interests.

"Wellmont's motivation to work with Takoma has always been based on a shared mission of service to the people of Greene County and a deep appreciation for Takoma's culture," DeNarvaez said. "That is the same motivation for our support of this latest decision.At a time when all hospitals are challenged to think and work in new ways in response to outside forces such as the Affordable Care Act, the right alignments are essential to success."

Takoma was at the forefront of implementing computerized provider order entry and meeting the federal government's meaningful use standard for electronic medical records. Another significant accomplishment was Takoma's recent designation as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence.

The hospital has also received national third-party validation for its patient safety efforts, scoring A's from The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization that promotes transparency and value-based hospital incentives. Takoma was also named a safety superstar by AARP The Magazine in conjunction with Leapfrog.

Both organizations have shared best practices with one another and will continue to do so. In addition to expertise from the heart institute, Takoma has been able to rely on Holston Valley Medical Center and Bristol Regional Medical Center to provide specialized care and intricate procedures for Greene County patients. This has included access to Wellmont's two trauma centers and Holston Valley's neonatal intensive care unit.

Wolcott stressed this change in ownership will not affect the quality of care Greene County residents receive. DeNarvaez agreed, saying Wellmont and AHS are committed to the best possible care for Takoma's patients.

"The past seven years have been a time of growth and sharing, and both of us have benefitted from the relationship. We congratulate Takoma for all that has been accomplished," DeNarvaez said. "We know there will be many ways we can collaborate with Takoma in the future, and we look forward to those opportunities to build on what we have achieved."