Tennova Memo Suggests Company Moving Toward Constructing New West Knoxville Hospital

May 2, 2014

Tennova's Physicians Regional Medical Center in north Knoxville.
Credit Tennova Healthcare

A memo from Tennova Healthcare CEO Neil Heatherly indicates the company is dusting off its plans to build a new hospital of Middlebrook Pike in west Knoxville.

"We believe a new facility would help move our entire system forward. Over the last several weeks we have been reviewing the site, design and capacity of the inherited plans," Heatherly wrote in the memo reported by WBIR television on Thursday.

Initial plans for the hospital, announced last year, were met with vocal opposition from residents near the proposed site. Those who live in neighborhoods of north Knoxville were also frustrated with the announcement, because the new Middlebrook Pike facility would replace the former St. Mary's hospital that has been in north Knoxville for close to eight decades. The hospital, now known as Physicians Regional Medical Center, wouldn't go away entirely. Instead, the facility off north Broadway would be turned into an urgent and primary care center.

Despite the opposition, Knoxville's Metropolitan Planning Commission okayed the Tennova proposal last summer.

Plans were put on hold earlier this year, as Tennova's parent company was bought out by Community Health Systems. By Thursday, about 90 days after the deal was finalized, it appeared that Tennova officials are turning their attention back to the Middlbrook Pike site. Heatherly said the earliest the company would be able to ask the state for permission to build the hospital would be June.