Preparation for the transition began several weeks ago, and the state of Tennessee in September granted final approval to formalize the move.
“The change is a natural evolution of cardiac services in Kingsport,” Monty McLaurin, president of Ballad Health’s northwest market, said in a prepared release. “With our two hospitals operating just three miles apart, we now have the opportunity to work in collaboration with each other to customize services to best fit the needs of our community.”
Ballad Health said the move applies only to invasive cardiac procedures performed inside the hospitals. Outpatient cardiology services at Indian Path Medical Center are unaffected. Inpatients at Indian Path Medical Center who need medical cardiology services will continue to be able to access those services at Indian Path Medical Center, the merged hospital system noted.
Ballad Health said no jobs were impacted by the change.
The hospital system gave his rationale for the move:
• Holston Valley’s five cardiac catheterization labs already perform more than 90 percent of the cath lab procedures in Kingsport.
• Longtime cardiologists Dr. Robert McQueen and Dr. Michael Ponder will maintain their outpatient office at Indian Path for patients under their care, and Indian Path will continue to be equipped for inpatient cardiac consults. Dr. McQueen will now perform interventional heart procedures at Holston Valley.
• While changes to certain services in Kingsport were pre-approved by the state of Tennessee in the Certificate of Public Advantage (COPA), this is the only change that has been approved and finalized by the Ballad Health board of directors at this time. “We are working with physicians, team members and other key stakeholders to evaluate other services, and will keep the community and our patients informed as future decisions are made,” the Ballad Health release said.