- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) - Two competing health systems in northeast Tennessee are looking for state approval of a merger that would establish a single operation.

Media report that Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System filed Tuesday for a certificate of public advantage from the Tennessee Department of Health.

The two health systems’ headquarters are about 25 miles apart: Wellmont is based in Kingsport, and Mountain States is based in Johnson City. Both had announced their intention to merge their assets last year, saying becoming one entity will benefit the people in northeast Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina.

The companies have pledged to keep all of their hospitals in the region open for five years.

Both Virginia and Tennessee have to approve the merger.

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