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Jellico hospital closes

Jellico’s only hospital has closed.
Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 3:58 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2021 at 5:27 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Jellico’s only hospital has closed.

Rennova Health Management confirmed the closure Tuesday afternoon, saying it ceased operations Monday morning.

Repercussions of the decision made by the City of Jellico at last week’s public Board meeting mean it is no longer viable for Rennova Health, Inc. to consider the financial support or investment needed for Jellico hospital to continue to operate in any capacity on a daily basis. Regrettably, management of Rennova Community Health, Inc. that oversees our hospital operations in TN, had no option but to cease operations at the facility yesterday morning and will comply with the City of Jellico’s Board request in an orderly manner. I have no further information regarding any reopening at this time and do not know what plans the city of Jellico have for their building.

Rennova Health Management

Jellico Mayor Dwight Osborne said that he had issued a 30-day notice in December, ordering the owners of Jellico Medical Center to vacate the premises due to overdue bills and payments.

“They didn’t give any willingness to comply with the contract,” said Mayor Osborne. He added that the hospital leases the building for $1 per year, but the contract requires Rennova to pay for equipment upkeep and building maintenance. Osborne said they never did that and cited plumbing, heat and air issues. Osborne also added that the hospital had not admitted a patient since November 2020.

In December, the city gave Rennova a list of improvements to make, but they did not comply, and city council voted unanimously last week to remove them from the building.

This is not the first time the owners, Rennova, have come under fire for allegations over lack of payment. In February 2020, the state confirmed it had received multiple complaints against the hospital and Rennova over unpaid wages.

Weeks before that, Senator Marsha Blackburn released a letter on January 30 to the CEO of Rennova Health, Seamus Lagan, asking him to answer certain questions. Days after, Lagan responded saying he “appreciated the concern” but couldn’t guarantee success.

Payroll issues have plagued Rennova, dating back to at least 2019, when employees at Big South Fork Medical Center--also owned by Rennova--alerted WVLT News of unpaid wages.

Rennova offered no information on plans to reopen. However, Osborne told WVLT News that the city is in the early stages of getting another medical provider to take over the space and hopes to have an announcement in “the very near future.”

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