After Appalachian Hospitals Merged Into a Monopoly, Their ERs Slowed to a Crawl

Neal Osborne, a City Council member in Bristol, Virginia, with Type 1 diabetes, suffered a harrowing experience in the local hospital’s emergency room due to a malfunctioning insulin pump. Osborne waited for 30 hours before being moved to the intensive care unit, highlighting issues with ER wait times in the region. Ballad Health, a 20-hospital system with a monopoly in Tennessee and Virginia, has faced criticism for long ER wait times, leading to calls for better regulation. Despite some positive aspects of care, Ballad’s struggles to meet quality benchmarks and provide charity care have raised concerns among community members and legislators.

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