Update: The Cone Health Merger and Its Impact on Our Community
“As an elected representative it is my fiduciary duty to ensure the interests of our residents are front and center.”
A few weeks ago I sent you a communication about our concerns around the proposed merger between Cone Health and a Virgina based firm. Cone Health is our City’s largest employer. Not only do they provide jobs and a world-class healthcare system, but they are also a critical community partner that contributes to local endowments and foundations for the benefit of our community. Since my email I have been in contact with leadership at Cone multiple times. I would like to thank them for releasing additional details, but there is still work to be done.
Some of the positive additional details provided by Cone Health are below. There is further information on the website and in the FAQ’s.
- The first is a significant capital investment over the next decade. This will provide critical funding for needed facilities and programs, expanded and improved access to care for people across our region, and innovative approaches for the future in virtual and digital health. All of this will build on Cone Health’s tradition of excellence, bringing care into more neighborhoods and improving the health of people in our area.
The second is an approach to health insurance that is affordable and tailored to the local needs of consumers and businesses. Cone’s objective is to build on Sentara’s current Optima Health insurance plan combined with Cone Health’s HealthTeam Advantage (Medicare Advantage) plan to provide more options to those in our region. This fully integrated approach will be focused on providing value to members, improving wellness and keeping costs manageable. The North Carolina health plan division headquarters will be in Greensboro.
Third, the consolidation of Cone Health and Sentara finances will allow significant funds to be freed up from Cone Health’s current investment portfolio, after coverage of debt, to enhance our existing foundations, and to create an additional locally headquartered foundation to serve community health care needs and design new innovative initiatives in our region.
As an elected representative it is my fiduciary duty to ensure the interests of our residents are front and center. I am grateful for the key partnership Cone Health has been to this community and want that to continue and grow. While this is a good start, I will continue to push Cone Health to provide more specific information and firmer commitments to things like contributions, capital investments, jobs, and healthcare costs that show net improvements for our community.