At least one local leader who has been calling for more transparency in Wellmont Health System’s search for “an alignment partner” believes Wellmont CEO Denny DeNarvaez’s resignation Wednesday is a good sign.
Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips was among a panel of leaders who spoke at an Aug. 18 forum signaling the public kickoff of a “Save Your Hospitals” effort. It came shortly after Wellmont had reduced its number of merger contenders to three, and had two main aims: encouraging greater Wellmont board transparency in its process, and pushing for consideration of a local merger between Wellmont and Mountain States Health Alliance.
Saying he was surprised DeNarvaez had resigned (read a related letter from Wellmont’s board chairman at forwardwithvision.org/wellmont-ceo-to-transition-from-her-role/), Phillips added that he thought the move was “a step in the right direction.” Wellmont announced DeNarvaez’s resignation in a news release just before 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Phillips said he hoped the board could sit down and involve the community more in such an important process.
“As I have said before, I think the CEO was driving the hospital board, and I think that the board is to be commended for stepping up and making some good decisions,” Phillips said. He made reference to a group informally headed by local banker Bill Greene that in mid-July began privately pressing DeNarvaez and the Wellmont board to meet and sincerely consider something other than sale to an outside buyer.
Image credit: JC News & Neighbor