Tennova Meeting - Future of St. Mary's

Tennova Meeting - Future of St. Mary's

Postby Nick Della Volpe » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:30 am

The neighborhoods in the 4th District are planning their second meeting on june 24th with Tennova reps to discuss Tennova plans to move their flagship St Mary's acute care hospital facility out west to their Dowell Springs site on Middlebrook Pike, and to obtain an update on what will happen the the old St Mary's off Broadway.
Here are my background notes from our first meeting in March 2013:


This is a brief summary of the Tennova Middlebrook Pike potential hospital site meeting, held in Old North Knoxville last Monday night, March 18th. Melanie Robinson and Jerry Askew shared the current Tennova information with the group. Reportedly, no final decision has been made by Tennova.

BASIC PROPOSAL: Tennova, a for-profit hospital company that manages St. Mary's on Oak Hill Rd, has optioned 107 acres in the Dowell Springs area of Middlebrook Pike. [Note: Tennova is a subsidiary of Health Management Associates, HMA, headquartered in Pelican Bay, FL. HMA operates 74 hospitals and 460 clinics in 15 states.]

The discussion was prefaced with a discussion of the changing face of medical care, which includes shorter acute care stays (2 to 3 days vs 4 or 5 before), too many beds in the knoxville market (St. Mary's alone has 444 beds), a capital intensive business with a changing healthcare reimbursement model, a hemmed-in site with an 80 year old power plant system that serves the complex which is difficult to navigate because of how it was expanded over the years. Among other things, patient satisfaction now partially controls their reimbursement rights (not just health outcomes) and frustration of patients and visitors in parking, difficulty getting around to different services within St. Mary's, quality of meals, etc., play an increasing role re hospital profitability.

Askew said they spent their initial effort trying to find a way to expand and improve the current 1.3 million sq ft building but found it difficult and expensive. They have an $80 million investment in north Knoxville. They employ 2000 people-- yes 2000 people. Their doctor base lives out west and knoxville's population is growing in that direction. The doctors don't want to practice here, and they don't to lose their client base. The rule in this business is: "Patients follow the doctors."

Unspoken: the higher income patients out their also have higher-payment private insurance and can afford to pay their co-pays. New investment can be depreciated for income tax puposes.

ISSUE: Tennova is more interested in re-purposing the St Mary's site than staying there. The relocation to Middlebrook will take 3 to 5 years (Considering engineering evaluations, zoning changes, getting state Certificate of Need (about 1 1/2 years) and doing the construction (approx 15 to 18 months).
• what are the potential repurposing uses? (clinic, non-acute care, senior care, assisted living on the health care side; office or other corporate uses)
• what happens to neighborhood businesses and housing market if we loose 2000 jobs?
• will the center city have convenient health care?
• what happens to all the satellite medical offices located around there?
• what if it becomes an abandoned white elephant?
• what happens if it attracts a homeless service provider? or a jail type use?
• what should the community do?

They only need about 325 beds in the new facility.

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS: Questions are being asked like:
What about using it as a park? (but it is an awfully expensive site to clear and build on).
Could it become a specialty medical center? (eg, birthing clinic, keep the emergency center, senior center,...)
What is an attractive reuse?--the interior space is awfully chopped up...
Does Tennova's need to write off depreciation drive the decision to build new?
Will they keep up the building and site if abandoned?

WHAT’S NEXT: There will be a follow-up community meeting scheduled in mid-April.
Nick Della Volpe
Posts: 110
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:00 pm

Re: Tennova Meeting - Future of St. Mary's

Postby Nick Della Volpe » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:34 am

Here are the second meeting details:

WHAT: Meeting with Tennova Reps
WHEN: June 24, 6 to 7 pm
WHERE: St James Episcopal Church Meeting Hall (back of church, main address = 1101 N. Broadway).
WHY: Future of health care in North Knoxville. What will happen here, as well as on proposed Middlebrook Pike facility? Plus impact on 2000 jobs currently at St Mary’s, your housing stock, and local business dependence on daily activity?
WHO: You should plan to attend. Zoning and other steps on moving ahead on the Dowell Springs site.
MAP: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q ... TN%2037917

I look forward to seeing reps from 4th & Gill, Old North Knoxville, Oakwood-Lincoln Park, North Hills, ABSHNA, THE, Fountain City ….
Nick D

Ps It is an understatement to say they have a major presence in and impact on these communities (jobs, business patronage, housing needs,…) and on the health care offered in this area. So, come to the meeting. Be informed and proactive.
- Ask questions.
- Make suggestions.
- Challenge misconceptions.
- Plan for the future.
Nick Della Volpe
Posts: 110
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:00 pm

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