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Roane Medical Center is Among Six Covenant Health Hospitals Receiving ‘Small and Rural Readiness Grants’ from State of Tennessee

Posted on May 26, 2020

Roane Medical Center is among six of Covenant Health’s member hospitals selected as recipients of Small and Rural Hospital Readiness Grants, announced by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee on May 19. The hospitals are part of a statewide distribution of $10 million to support smaller hospitals that are facing financial strain as a result of the ongoing response to COVID-19.

“We are grateful to Governor Lee and our elected state representatives for allocating these funds from the state’s COVID-19 response appropriation,” said Jim VanderSteeg, Covenant Health president and CEO. “The distribution of the grants is an affirmation of the important role that rural hospitals play in providing medical care for communities throughout Tennessee.

“With a statewide temporary closure of many hospital services during March and April, Covenant Health experienced reduced volumes and the accompanying financial challenges across our health system,” VanderSteeg noted. “The grant funds will be very helpful in supporting operations at our rural hospitals.”

Each Covenant Health hospital received a grant of $136,545, which will be used primarily for operational support of hospital services.

“Essentially this state grant for rural health facilities will go to help cover the costs we incurred during this time while our revenue has been affected by COVID-19,” said Jason Pilant, Roane Medical Center president and chief administrative officer.  “We suspended our elective procedures and diagnostics for several weeks, and this had a major impact on small hospitals when looking at operational performance.  Funds from this grant will be applied to our hospital’s normal direct operating costs, as well as additional costs incurred for COVID preparations and related safety practices”.

“Among Covenant Health’s nine acute care hospitals, three of them – Fort Sanders Regional, Parkwest and Methodist Medical Centers – are in Knoxville and Oak Ridge. The other six serve smaller communities in our surrounding region and were eligible to apply for the readiness grants,” explained Mike Belbeck, executive vice president of operations.

In addition to Roane Medical Center, other Covenant Health hospitals receiving Small and Rural Hospital Readiness Grants include:

  • Claiborne Medical Center, Tazewell
  • Cumberland Medical Center, Crossville
  • Fort Loudoun Medical Center, Lenoir City
  • LeConte Medical Center, Sevierville
  • Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System, Morristown

“Our member hospitals, outpatient services and physician offices are essential to providing local access to healthcare and improving the quality of life throughout our region,” Belbeck said “As we reopen medical services, our patients can feel confident in seeking immediate emergency treatment and other medical services when care is needed. During this unprecedented time, Covenant Health remains committed to providing safe, excellent care for our patients and communities.”