We have exciting news we want to share with you.

This afternoon, the Southwest Virginia Health Authority voted to deem our application for a cooperative agreement complete, which advances the proposed merger of Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System to the next step in Virginia.

This officially "starts the clock" on Virginia's review of the merits of our application. Each state, once the application is deemed complete, has a specific number of days to evaluate and either approve or deny our proposed merger.  The next step in Virginia is for the health authority to recommend to the Virginia Department of Health whether the cooperative agreement application should be approved. Our organizations look forward to working further with the Authority and Department of Health in Virginia as the process continues.

We are continuing our work with the Tennessee Department of Health on our application for a Certificate of Public Advantage (COPA) and we hope our Tennessee application will also be deemed complete in the near future.

As we continue to achieve important milestones in the process to come together, there is still much work to be done prior to integrating our two systems and we continue as competitors until final approval in each state.  In addition to working with officials in Tennessee and Virginia as they review our applications for a Certificate of Public Advantage and cooperative agreement, we are accelerating the work of our functional teams.  These functional teams include members from both Mountain States and Wellmont and focus on assessment, policy development and planning for the new health system to ensure an effective integration.

We appreciate all of the feedback and thank everyone for the support we've received at public hearings, in written comments and in conversations within the community.

Over the coming weeks there will be additional opportunities to provide your thoughts in both Tennessee and Virginia. Those dates are available online at www.BecomingBetterTogether.org as they are made public.