COPA Local Advisory Council Members Appointed

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 | 02:24pm

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH today announced the appointment of members of the inaugural Certificate of Public Advantage Local Advisory Council.

The state of Tennessee issued a Certificate of Public Advantage January 31, 2018 allowing the merger of Wellmont Health System and Mountain States Health Alliance. The new entity is known as Ballad Health. TDH is required by law to actively supervise Ballad Health to ensure the continuation of the public benefit of the merger.

A Terms of Certification document was created as part of the COPA process and outlines the procedure for active supervision by the state of Ballad Health. This active supervision structure includes a local advisory council that will facilitate input from residents of the geographic area served by Ballad Health. The Terms of Certification require the council be comprised of eight to 10 community leaders and be supported by the TDH Division of Health Planning.

Local advisory council responsibilities include:
• Recommending to TDH how funds in the Population Health Initiatives Fund should be spent
• In coordination with TDH, hosting an annual public hearing to allow a formal process for the public to comment on annual reports from Ballad Health and the COPA Compliance Office  and the ongoing performance of Ballad Health
• Publishing the Local Advisory Council Annual Report that incorporates community feedback for review by the COPA monitor and TDH after the annual public hearing

The council is scheduled to hold its first meeting June 6 from 3 – 5 p.m. Eastern time at Northeast State Community College in Blountville. The meeting is open to the public. Additional details are available at

Members of the COPA Local Advisory Council are:
• Eleanor Sue Cantrell, MD, Virginia District Health Director
• State Representative David Hawk of Greene County
• Brant Kelch, Executive Director, Highlands Physicians
• Linda Latimer, MD, East Tennessee State University Board of Trustees
• Gary Mayes, director of the Sullivan County Regional Health Department
• Doug Varney, former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services
• Jerry Miller, MD, Holston Medical Group founder
• Roger Mowen, co-founder of Healthy Kingsport and former senior vice president, Eastman Chemical Company
• Brenda White Wright, former CEO of Girls Inc. of Kingsport
• Dennis Phillips, former mayor of Kingsport
For information about the local advisory council, its charge, the Terms of Certification, the history of the COPA process and other related matters, visit

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at