Homeowners working with officials as new Knoxville psychiatric hospital plans continue moving forward

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Homeowners in West Knoxville are weighing in as a projected future psychiatric hospital continues moving forward.

This week Knoxville Center for Behavioral Medicine received their ‘Certificate of Need’ from the Health Services and Development Agency of the State of Tennessee.

The facility will be constructed near the corner of Middlebrook Pike and Old Weisgarber Road and will include a freestanding ER and surgery complex on campus — but on another parcel of land.

Tennova officials telling us this will be a satellite Emergency Department of Tennova’s North Knoxville Medical Center.

This ER facility will be open 24/7 to treat patients with illnesses and injuries requiring a higher level of care than urgent care facilities offer. The proposed satellite facility will include eight treatment rooms providing emergency treatment services and ancillary services including a medical laboratory, CT, X-ray and ultrasound. 

The psychiatric hospital is a partnership between National HealthCare Corporation, Tennova Healthcare, The University of Tennessee Medical Center and Reliant Healthcare.

MORE: Rehabilitation hospital proposed on Tennova Middlebrook Pike site

Since the land was first purchased years ago, neighborhood associations in that area say they’ve been in talks with hospital execs ensuring this facility has a positive impact on the community. This week, these neighborhoods say they’re ok with the direction things are going.

“It’ll pretty much be right behind this house,” said John Heins, President of the Wesley Neighbors Community Association.

Heins has lived in that neighborhood since the 1950s and says the hospital will go behind a row of houses across the street from his home, “You’ll be able to see it come winter through the trees and they’ll be right next to it. They’ll be our neighbors for sure.”

The 55,000-square-foot facility will have 64 beds, giving psychiatric care for adult patients.

Heins says the neighborhood had opposition to the original plan but for some time they’ve been communicating with hospital officials, “As a neighborhood, of course, we’d like to have the property not developed but we know that development and progress is coming down the path and we’re okay with what they’re doing.”

Still, it’s a major change.

“It’s their property and we understand they’re going to develop it and we’d like to work with them as much as possible,” added Heins.

Tony Benton, CEO of Tennova Healthcare said in a statement:

“We are excited to bring back a much-needed services that was long-established at Physicians Regional Medical Center in Knoxville until the hospital closure 14 months ago. Together, we are able to do what is best for this community.”

Joe Landsman, CEO of The University of Tennessee Medical Center also said in a statement:

“We see a great need for additional behavioral medicine inpatient treatment services in East Tennessee on a regular basis here at UT Medical Center. This collaborative effort will bring experienced, high-quality care and will address the need and access issues for many.”

The newly constructed facility is projected to open in 2022, pending necessary regulatory and other approvals.

Knoxville Center for Behavioral Medicine will be adding a projected 100 new jobs to Knox County. Construction is projected to start in 2021.

“You know that it’s coming. It’s inevitable and we hope it’s good for the community, it’s good for Knoxville,” added Heins.

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