Fort Loudoun 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.
“Fort Loudoun is grateful to have received these grant funds. This will help us continue to provide safe, high quality care that improves the health of our community,” said Jeffrey Feike, Fort Loudoun Medical Center Administrator. “We’ll be using these monies to help us offset operating losses caused by declines in revenue during the temporary suspension of elective surgical procedures in March and April. The funds also will help cover ongoing operating costs including payroll, physician support, utilities, and many 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 Ft. Loudoun Medical Center, other Covenant Health hospitals receiving Small and Rural Hospital Readiness Grants include:
- Claiborne Medical Center, Tazewell
- Cumberland Medical Center, Crossville
- LeConte Medical Center, Sevierville
- 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.”