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"St. Mary's is outdated so a new hospital has to be constructed." A more accurate statement is that parts of St. Mary's are outdated and Tennova doesn't want to spend the money to renovate it. It can and should be renovated so the people in North Knoxville can get the level of healthcare they deserve.
"The hospital is loosing doctors." According to doctors I've talked to, Tennova required them to be on call at both St. Mary's and Tennova's North facility for no extra pay, thus driving them away. Plus they said the rates for office rental at St. Mary's were higher than at North. Tennova is inducing doctors to leave so they can say doctors are abandoning St. Mary's.
"Doctors control where hospitals are located." Everyone wants to work in a new building close to home. Doctor convenience is hardly a sound criteria for establishing distribution of health care in the city. Tennova's plans are based on what they think will bring the most profit. Their claim that doctors are the drivers of their decisions is a diversion from their true motives.
The real issue is that Tennova is abandoning patients in order to gain a profit. St. Mary's will cease to exist as a full service hospital - no emergency room, no acute care, no surgery, no labs, according to Tennova's last public presentation in North Knoxville.
If Tennova is successful, the city will have a lop sided distribution of hospitals that tilts West. That may benefit Tennova's shareholders, but it won't benefit the people of Knoxville.
City Council can stop this by refusing to rezone the Middlebrook Pike site. The state can stop it by denying Tennova its Certificates of Need - one to downsize St. Mary's and another one to build a new building on Middlebrook. The MPC can stop it by denying Tennova at the "use on review" hearing.
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