ABINGDON, Va. — The Southwest Virginia Health Authority’s recently created Virginia Cooperative Agreement Task force has its first eight members and has scheduled its first meeting.

Chairman and Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, appointed himself and seven other members — who already serve on the health authority’s board — to the task force. It is charged with taking an active role in overseeing the Cooperative Agreement, which allows Ballad Health to operate in Virginia.

Three additional spots will be filled from members of the public.

“We plan to facilitate input about the Virginia Cooperative Agreement and Ballad Health’s performance under the agreement from residents of the counties and cities in the authority’s region,” Kilgore said in a written statement.

In addition to Kilgore, the members are Catherine Brillhart, representing the city of Bristol; Dr. Sue Cantrell, director of the Lenowisco Health District/Cumberland Plateau Health District; banking executive Sam Neese, representing Washington County; Dixie Took-Rawlins, president and provost of the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine; Sandy O’Dell, executive director of Frontier Health; Donna Henry, chancellor of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise; and Del. Todd Pillion, R-Abingdon.

“We have three remaining seats available for which we will solicit public interest to identify representatives of the public who desire to serve,” Kilgore said in the statement.

The first meeting will be Oct. 7 at 4 p.m. at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in room 240.

The task force also will host an annual public hearing for public input.

The authority agreed to create the task force at its June meeting.

The task force is to assist the authority in oversight, planning and monitoring the performance of Ballad Health; supervise and receive reports from the authority’s employees whose role is to monitor and review the post-merger activity of Ballad Health; constitute a local body receiving and accepting input about the Cooperative Agreement from Ballad Health and the public to increase the authority’s knowledge concerning the Cooperative Agreement; coordinate with the Local Advisory Committee in Tennessee; give comments to the Commissioner of Health and his or her delegate(s) with respect to the Ballad Health merger; enable public comment on the performance of Ballad Health and to solicit and receive public comment on effects of the Ballad Health merger and Ballad Health’s operations; monitor the investments of Ballad Health in the performance of the Virginia Cooperative Agreement; and assist the board of directors of the authority.

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