KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

The Wellmont Health System Board of Directors has narrowed the list of potential health system partners from six to three, including a regional system and two significant health systems beyond the region, all of which are not-for-profit organizations.

The selection of a potential partner which can meet the high standards and partnership criteria established by the board is not expected until this fall, at the earliest. This process began a year ago.

Board chairman Roger Leonard released the following statement:

"As we enter this next phase of our process, the Wellmont board will be conducting three key initiatives: We will be actively seeking a dialogue with our communities, physicians and employees through a variety of ways – through conversations, group meetings, a dedicated website and more. You’ll be hearing more about that soon."

We will be learning more about the organizations that remain – what kind of partner they would be, what our alignment would look like more specifically, what we can do better together that we cannot do apart and more and at the same time, these potential partners will be learning more about us.

The board’s action follows substantial investment of time and resources by the Wellmont board to determine the best path for Wellmont and the communities it serves. For more than a year, these local leaders have invested hundreds of volunteer hours to understand what the future of health care demands and to explore every possible path that will allow Wellmont to thrive.

All of our work is to make sure Wellmont is well-positioned to fulfill our mission of delivering superior healthcare for generations to come, which we clearly cannot do as effectively alone. We are very excited by the strong possibility these organizations bring to enhance clinical excellence at Wellmont."

For more information, please visit www.wellmont.org/ForwardWithVision, where people can sign up to receive updates.

(Information obtained from press release through Wellmont Health System PR)