Baptist Hospital to end in-patient services downtown

KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- When Baptist Hospital and St. Mary's Medical Center merged to become one named Mercy Health Partners on January 1st, many anticipated how patient care would change.

Few would anticipate how much, or how soon.

Effective August 1st, Baptist's downtown campus will no longer perform inpatient services.

Volunteer TV medical reporter Jessa Goddard explains how this change will effect your health care.

Mercy Health Partners hail the transfer of services to Baptist Hospital West, St. Mary's Medical Center and its North location as a major next step. Part of a three to five year plan to build a new state of the art medical center downtown.

"Well, I consider this an expansion," Mercy Health Partners President and CEO Debra London told Volunteer TV News. "I consider this a growth opportunity, just because you're closing a facility does not mean that you're not growing services."

Effective August 1st, Baptist Hospital will discontinue all in-patient services, in other words, any procedure requiring an overnight hospital stay.

At any given time, that's 110 to 120 patients.

Mercy Health Partners officials say they've not yet made a decision regarding outpatient care. They made the announcement official to clinical staff and private physicians just Tuesday afternoon.

"We're working very closely with our physicians to make certain that the services that they provide to our patients are not interrupted," Mercy Health Partners Senior VP of External Affairs said.

Mercy Health Partners plan to create a transition job center, to match employees' skills with existing positions within the mercy system or develop new skills.

Officials say while they don't anticipate layoffs, they are prepared to offer severance packages.

"Our people may need to be retrained, if we are not able to offer positions for people, then we have a fair and just severance package that we will offer than will certainly assist them," London said at a news conference.

The transfer of services still requires regulatory approval. At that time, Mercy Health Partners will begin the next step, that is determining the size, scope and location of a new hospital in the downtown area.

Mercy Health Partners would not speculate on the location of the new hospital, only to say its current location downtown is one possibility.

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  • by Lynn Location: Atlanta on Mar 12, 2008 at 03:07 PM
    I am o retired Baptist employee and not at all shocked by this announcement. The hospital was under some poor leadership and management during Bob Chandlers administration. Advice to the employees ==find another job immediately and resign without giving a notice, after all they gave you no notice. Don't believe that junk about them not closing it until August 1, 2008. They tell you that so they can get all their ducks in a row . They will jerk the rug from under you immediately, give you a check and you are "transitioned" out the door without anything. They will only keep and use you until they can get the current patients phased out and the doors locked. Good luck and may God bless.
  • by tina Location: knoxville on Mar 12, 2008 at 11:16 AM
    I think closing Baptist is a huge mistake.Of course everyone knew when St.Mary's bought Baptist it would be more of a takeover.I talked to a lady yesterday that is treated at Baptist and lives in south Knox.and she said she would not drive to Broadway or Farragut.She would just go to Fort Sanders.You will see a lot of people going there or UT.So much for the growth potential for Mercy.Rumor has it that the city bought the land where Baptist is now for waterfront development.Does that surprise anyone?I pray that they are able to help these people find jobs within the hospital elsewhere.The economy is so bad now that they do not need to be without a job.
  • by Wayne Location: Knoxville on Mar 11, 2008 at 07:56 PM
    You know, in ICU two years ago there was a screen background that said, "For Sale, one building used as a hospital, suitable for condos, homeless shelter, etc. Comes with own chapel, on the waterfront, and with 900 slave laborer's that would work cheap. We had multiple meetings telling us that we couldn't have that on a computer. The funny one was the person that said "What if someone saw it if they were interested?" This writing has been on the wall for many years now, no maintenance done, multiple floods (including the one through ICU and into the salad bar) TennCare patients only, the drain from not having any Covenant insurance, blah blah blah. I am just glad that some of the supervisors (Not Paul)are going to be looking for jobs. What is amazing is that people are surprised.
  • by Bystander Location: Outside Knoxville on Mar 11, 2008 at 06:59 PM
    Someone needs to hold the Huron Consulting Group (Wellspring Partners) accountable for draining every last penny of cash reserves for top-flight hotel rooms for 60 consultants, nightly meals at fine dining establishments, airlines, rental cars, etc. The "savings" they produced were in many cases were unable to be verified or substantiated. And the Baptist Board did not have the common sense to look beyond the "fluffy" Powerpoints these people produced. Wellspring/Huron broke the system. I am sure they were bonused for what I consider to be rape and pillage.
  • by Mis Location: Information on Mar 11, 2008 at 06:34 PM
    It was circulated today from patients and clinic offices that the downtown Baptist hospital location would be closing permanently.


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