Image Credit: JohnsonCityFreedom / Rumble
The Tennessee Conservative [By Adelia Kirchner] –
Local residents stood up to testify against the Ballad Healthcare monopoly in East Tennessee at a recent meeting of the Carter County Commission.
During the September 18th meeting, Commissioners Angie Odom and Nancy Brown proposed that the commission put together a resolution against Ballad, which would then be brought to the Tennessee General Assembly.
The commission then voted unanimously to have County Attorney Josh Hardin draft the resolution expressing their concerns with the management practices of Ballad and its operation of Sycamore Shoals Hospital which is the only hospital in Carter County.
Back in June, Tennessee held its annual public hearing on the Certificate of Public Advantage (COPA) that governs the Ballad Healthcare system, which is technically supposed to supply advantages that outweigh the negative impact of the 2018 healthcare system merger.
According to Danielle Goodrich with Tennessee Stands, the whole point of the government allowing the COPA hearing to occur was “so rural hospitals wouldn’t close and to hear from the public regarding healthcare in the region and compliance to the COPA.”
“Yet they are closing them anyways,” wrote Goodrich. “Carter [County] is set to lose their ICU [Intensive Care Unit].”
County commissioners spoke at the COPA hearing, but like their constituents, are not exactly satisfied with the results.
“We asked them to take it a step further. They did and voted unanimously to draft a resolution and walk it themselves to the legislature,” Goodrich said about the commission. “Now they are purportedly getting threats to take their ambulance grant away and not only their ICU, but make it nothing more than a skeleton crew,” she continued.
However, the Johnson City Press reposted the Times News article on September 20th, removing Ashely Barnes’ testimony entirely and taking out most of what Danielle Goodrich said, replacing it with statements from Ballad Health.
Both the original and altered versions of the Times News piece are still up at the time of this article’s publication.
It was also pointed out at the end of Monday’s commission meeting, by Commissioner Ginger Holdren, that a present member of the news media had been turning their camera off during public testimony in opposition to Ballad.
“I couldn’t help but notice from where I see it, that the person here from the television news media turned her camera off and sat down whenever a citizen spoke about Ballad,” stated Holdren.
“At first I thought it was yellow journalism, but then I looked up yellow journalism, and it’s not quite that. I would just say it’s a complete failure to report the truth,” she continued.
“Call and email the mayor,” read Tennessee Stands’ post. “Ask her when she will make a statement on the matter and ask her if she plans on signing the resolution.”
The post goes on to urge local residents to email their state representatives asking them to support the commission with a letter of support.
Local residents are also encouraged to thank the commission for standing strong and email commissioners any stories related to Ballad Health.
The last section of the call for action addresses those who reside outside of Carter County.
“Lastly,” the post reads, “encourage your commission to draft a resolution as well. standing united is the best way to show support.”
About the Author: Adelia Kirchner is a Tennessee resident and reporter for the Tennessee Conservative. Currently the host of Subtle Rampage Podcast, she has also worked for the South Dakota State Legislature and interned for Senator Bill Hagerty’s Office in Nashville, Tennessee. You can reach Adelia at firstname.lastname@example.org.