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

Posted on May 22, 2020

(Sevierville, TN – May 22, 2020) LeConte 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.

“We are grateful to have received these grants funds and are glad to continue to provide excellent healthcare to Sevier County,” said Gaye Jolly, LeConte Medical Center chief administrative officer. “We will use the funds to offset operating losses caused by declines in revenue during the temporary suspension of elective procedures in March and April. The funds also will help cover ongoing operating costs such as payroll, employee benefits, physician support, utilities, and other daily expenses.”

“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 LeConte 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
  • Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System, Morristown
  • Roane Medical Center, Harriman

“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.”