Randy Boyd Says Proposed Health Systems Merger Good for Northeast Tennessee

Greeneville, Tenn. – While campaigning in the region today, Randy Boyd, Republican candidate for Governor, said he strongly supports the proposed merger between Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health Systems to help provide continued, high-quality healthcare to more Tennesseans.

Boyd said after listening and learning from key leaders and voters throughout Northeast Tennessee for the past several months that he believes prompt approval by the State of Tennessee of the proposed merger will lead to greater healthcare quality, security and availability for residents in both Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

“Tennessee’s rural communities have suffered more than most states with the loss of local hospitals.  Nearly a dozen have closed in our state since the inception of Obamacare, and when these hospitals closed, there were few backups for those who needed immediate and affordable healthcare in their local communities.” Boyd said. “But this merger guarantees the continuity and availability of care for many years, and that should be a big plus and relief for residents in this region.”

Boyd said the proposed merger would also help the state and region address one of its most immediate and pressing challenges – opioid addictions.

“Many of our more rural communities are ground-zero in the opioid epidemic. And neither the state nor the current system have delivered the depth of residential services needed,” Boyd said. “So I am pleased to learn that the merged health system will also build a new comprehensive residential treatment campus which will rival the best in the nation.  That’s a critically needed facility that neither the state nor taxpayers would have to fund, and another direct benefit in our efforts to combat the growing opioid crisis.“

Boyd said after visits with Dr. Brian Noland and his executive team at ETSU earlier this week, he also learned of the proposed merger’s positive impact on ETSU, the Quillen College of Medicine, and VA Medical Center.

“East Tennessee State University is a state and regional treasure, and features one of the most robust health science centers and public health programs in the nation. “ Boyd said.  “But we can do even more by investing in the medical research capacity at ETSU.  And as I understand it, the merged health system would commit at least $85 million more in funding to help expand research and medical training in this region.“

“As an entrepreneur and businessman, and not a career politician, I believe free and fair competition is almost always best, but in this case, I believe this merger will not only make these regional hospitals more competitive nationally, but will also ensure that the citizens of Northeast Tennessee have continued access to the very best healthcare in the nation.”  

“All of the major employers, chambers of commerce, municipalities, and healthcare professionals in this region I have talked to have already endorsed the merger, and I believe they know better than some bureaucrats in Washington about the real needs of this region,” Boyd said. “I encourage state officials to act swiftly to approve this proposed merger.”

A successful entrepreneur, business and philanthropic leader, Boyd is the founder and chairman of Radio Systems Corporation, which is headquartered in Knoxville. First started out of the back of Boyd’s van, the company today produces over 4,600 pet products under brand names such as Invisible Fence, PetSafe, and SportDOG, with more than 700 employees and annual revenues of $400 million.

Boyd previously served in Governor Bill Haslam’s cabinet as the state Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, and earlier while serving as the Governor’s Special Advisor on Higher Education was the architect of the state’s Drive to 55 workforce development initiative, and the tnAchieves and Tennessee Promise scholarship programs to help more young people go to technical or community college tuition-free.  

For more information about Randy Boyd and his campaign for Governor, please visit RandyBoyd.com — like him on Facebook at RandyBoydTN, or follow him on Twitter @RandyBoyd.