Johnson City News & Neighbor: Wellmont shakeup “step in the right direction”

September 10th, 2014 Posted by Media No Comment yet

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, 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.

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Image credit: JC News & Neighbor



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