Wellmont and Frontier Health form behavioral health partnership

From Staff Reports
BRISTOL -- Officials for Wellmont Health System and Frontier Health announced Wednesday during a joint media conference that, beginning Oct. 20, the two systems will merge their behavioral health services.
As a result of the partnership, Frontier Health will manage Wellmont Ridgeview, a 28-bed, acute-care psychiatric facility in Bristol, as well as Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center's medical psychiatric unit.
Frontier Health, based in Gray, is the region's largest provider of behavioral health programs. It is a not-for-profit organization with more than 70 behavioral health facilities in Tennessee and Virginia.
According to a released statement from Amy Stevens, public relations coordinator for Wellmont, the merger will allow Wellmont to "significantly enhance its behavioral health offerings and provide treatment for patients the health system would have been unable to assist in the past."
"Thanks to this new community partnership, we'll be able to help people who otherwise would have to travel out of the area for care," said Eddie George, Wellmont's president and chief executive officer. "Frontier Health brings an unparalleled level of expertise to our behavioral health services. This is truly a win-win partnership for the patients we serve."
Fontier Health will also provide all psychiatric consult services at Wellmont Bristol Regional. Officials said the partnership will eventually expand to offer services throughout the Wellmont system.
"We're excited about strengthening our partnership with Wellmont Health System," said E. Douglas Varney, Frontier Health's president and chief executive officer. "The trust and confidence Wellmont has demonstrated in our organization is very gratifying. This relationship will enhance patient access to care, expand available services and improve the integration of behavioral and physical health care throughout the region."
Communication to patients about the new partnership is upcoming, and officials expect a seamless transition as Frontier Health assumes its management responsibilities.
Andra Savage, Wellmont's system director of psychiatric services, will continue in that role as a Frontier Health employee. In addition, Drs. Ashvin Patel and Sebastian Ornopia of Bristol Psychiatry and Psychology Services will become part of the Frontier Health organization.
Frontier Health expects to recruit additional psychiatrists to serve Wellmont patients as the partnership progresses.
"Our board of directors is committed to crafting community partnerships that will enhance the health status of our region," George said. "By working with outstanding organizations such as Frontier Health, our health system is becoming the national model of excellence we strive to be."