Jellico hospital diverts ambulances after state receives wage complaints

Published: Feb. 19, 2020 at 6:39 PM EST
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The crisis is growing for Rennova Health, the company behind Jellico Community Hospital and Big South Fork Medical Center.

On Wednesday, February 19, WVLT confirmed with an employee at Jellico Community Hospital that they were diverting ambulances from the emergency room.

Campbell County EMS said they are no longer on diversion as of Thursday morning. The ambulance service said it lasted nearly 24 hours. Ambulances were sent to LaFollette, Knoxville, and Corbin, KY.

This is the second time a diversion has happened at a Rennova-owned facility in recent months. Big South Fork Medical Center turned away ambulances for nearly a week starting February 4. That facility is no longer on diversion.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) told WVLT News it received ten wage complaints against Jellico Community Hospital and Rennova Health as of 1 p.m. Wednesday, February 19th.

A representative for TDLWD said officials will investigate if employees aren't paid for 21 days. That deadline for Jellico is Friday.

Some Jellico employees told WVLT News reporter Robert Grant they're two paychecks behind. The last time they received pay was January 17th. Employees at Big South Fork Medical Center said they will also be two weeks behind if checks don't come this Friday.

Holding back tears, one employee said she was forced to leave her job in Jellico in search of something more stable. Several other employees have also reported leaving jobs at the hospital because of ongoing pay problems.

sent troubling financial reports to the Tennessee Attorney General Saturday for further investigation.

In a series of letters between Blackburn and Rennova CEO Seamus Lagan, Blackburn said, "Tennesseans deserve to know that employers such as Rennova Health have their best interests in mind."

, the elusive CEO responded to Blackburn with a letter of his own in which he claimed "I cannot guarantee success."

Several of WVLT's requests for comment have not been answered.

Payroll problems have plagued both Jellico and

for months. However, the company faces financial troubles from multiple corners, including the IRS.

According to official documents, there is at least one tax lien against Big South Fork Medical Center.

A new

. Since 2018, three East Tennessee hospitals have closed: Jamestown Regional Medical Center, Physicians Regional Medical Center and Lakeway Regional Hospital.

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