Rennova announces purchase of Jellico hospital as OB services set to end

Local News

Rennova Health, Inc. announced Monday is is purchasing Jellico Community Hospital, as well as an outpatient clinic in Williamsburg, Kentucky.

This will be the third East Tennessee hospital owned by Rennova, followed by Big South Fork Medical Center in Oneida and Jamestown Regional Medical Center.

Jellico Community Hospital is a 54-bed facility that offers a full list of services. CarePlus Rural Health Clinic LLC is located in Williamsburg and also offers a wide range of services.

The deal is expected to close in early 2019.

“This third hospital is situated near our Oneida and Jamestown based hospitals and further expands our footprint in the rural hospital sector in keeping with our business strategy,” said Seamus Lagan, CEO of Rennova. “We believe having a number of hospitals in the same geographic location creates a number of synergies and efficiencies and we look forward to this acquisition adding to revenue and value in the first quarter of 2019.”

Among those changes, Jellico Community Hospital is ending obstetrics services. Rennova Health sayis the purchase and the OB closure are completely unrelated.

JCH says Medicaid is their major payer for deliveries and newborn care, but Tennessee didn’t expand Medicaid and the hospital says they’re not able to subsidize OB services on their own.

All three of Elizabeth Powers’ children had their first pictures taken at the same place.

“Jellico is just right down the road. I always thought about what if I went into labor and it was quick. I wanted to be right here close to home and I’m happy because all of the nurses were amazing,” she said.

Hearing the news that the OB at Jellico Community Hospital will close at midnight December 9 came as a shock to Powers.

“I knew the problems at the hospital were happening with the money and stuff but I just thought the OB would be the last thing to go because it’s just so amazing and everybody goes there and it’s close,” added Powers.

She feels the decision to close the OB is a bad move for the community.

“I hope that they figure something out,” Powers said.

Physicians at Dayspring Family Health Center say they’re heartbroken delivery services in Jellico are ending but they want expectant mothers to remember their facility isn’t going anywhere.

“I’m not leaving, Dayspring’s not leaving. So we still want to offer women prenatal care that’s close to home so they don’t have to drive an hour to get care for prenatal visits,” said Dr. Cathleen Suto, director of women’s services at Dayspring Family Health Center.

Dr. Suto says right now they’re working with UT Medical Center, as well as Baptist Regional Medical Center in Corbin, Kentucky for women due after the OB closes. 

“We’re still going to be delivering babies right up until midnight December 9,” said Suto.

Many in Jellico hope delivery services comeback somewhere in the future.

“I just wouldn’t feel comfortable having kids anywhere else,” said Powers.

Jellico Community Hospital’s interim CEO putting out a statement on Facebook saying:

“We did not take this decision lightly but it is necessary for the greater good of our hospital. We empathize with the expectant mothers in our community who were planning to give birth here at Jellico in the coming months. We will work with local physicians to provide the continuation of their care with other providers.”

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