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Virginia grants more time for MSHA / Wellmont review

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Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine has extended the review period for a proposed merger between Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System, according to a report issued Monday.

It is a similar move granted by Tennessee officials last month as the health care providers continue to prepare their application of a certificate of public advantage to operate in both states.

The hospital groups indicated that several other deadlines must be met prior to the COPA documents being fully reviewed and possibly processed by both states, including completing the COPA application in Tennessee no later than March 1, the report said.

Mountain States and Wellmont also said that the additional time in Virginia brings them in line with their Tennessee Department of Health COPA review which sets a decision time no later than June 15, according to the statement.

The Southwest Virginia Health Authority recommended approval of the COPA and merger in November.

The Federal Trade Commission continues to oppose the merger, citing higher medical costs for consumers and little protection for the system's facilities in rural settings, among other objections.

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