MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Representatives of Covenant Health and Blount Memorial said Friday that they are in talks about a joint venture that would create a new company that would own and operate a medical group in Maryville, according to a press release.
The venture would not involve the two health systems’ hospitals.
The plan will be presented to Blount County Commission for endorsement, the group said in the press release.
“Both entities feel that this collaboration would strengthen and ensure the long-term availability of medical care in Blount County for Blount Countians,” according to the release.
The joint venture would create a new company that would own and operate a medical group separately from the two health systems, a spokesperson from Blount Memorial explained.
Blount Memorial and Covenant Health would jointly own the new company, which would have its own board of directors, but the medical group would not involve the two health systems’ hospitals.
Blount Memorial Physicians Group would transition to the jointly-owned company.
“Patients would have no interruption to their care and would continue to receive care from their individual providers, along with the office staff supporting them,” said representatives in the press release.
The collaboration may lead Covenant Health to purchase some non-hospital real estate and buildings, the group said.
Blount Memorial is a 304-bed acute care hospital in Maryville and is the second-largest employer in Blount County. Covenant Health is a nonprofit healthcare system based in Knoxville and is the area’s largest employer.
In December, Blount Memorial filed a lawsuit seeking to be declared independent from the control of Blount County Commission and mayor, as well as sell a facility that was built without county funds.. The suit alleged mismanagement by county officials and violations of laws governing the hospital. The commission voted to remove three members of the hospital’s board last year at a meeting that the suit argued violated Tennessee’s Open Meetings Act.
Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell then released a statement about his desire for UT Medical Center to take over operations at Blount Memorial Hospital.
Hospital CEO Dr. Harold Naramore told WATE he was never given notice about a potential agreement between the county and UT. He said the facility has been working to improve operation efficiency and increase revenue.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been edited to make clear that the joint venture will create a new company that would own and operate a medical group but not involve the two health systems’ hospitals.