Florida Lab Company Buys A Third Struggling Tennessee Hospital | Nashville Public Radio

Florida Lab Company Buys A Third Struggling Tennessee Hospital

Mar 12, 2019

A Florida-based firm sees opportunity in some of Tennessee's struggling rural hospitals. Rennova Health has bought a third facility on the upper Cumberland Plateau.

First it scooped up the 25-bed Oneida hospital out of bankruptcy and renamed it Big South Fork Medical Center. Then last year, Rennova purchased the hospital in Jamestown. Last week, the company closed its deal to acquire the 54-bed Jellico Community Hospital.

All of the 147 employees were laid off at the end of the month, according to mandatory reporting to the Tennessee Department of Labor. But a Rennova spokesman says they are being rehired under the new management.

CEO Seamus Lagan told a penny stock podcast that his company, which itself has been in financial trouble, sees potential in the region.

"We like this Tennessee area," Lagan says. "We believe there are synergies, in management and services and cost, in having a number of hospitals in close vicinity to each other."

Rennova eliminated several management positions at Jamestown hospital in 2018, including the chief nursing officer and safety director, citing synergies with the Oneida hospital 38 miles away.

Lagan says Rennova will also be exploring new revenue streams.

Before the hospital buying spree, the company's main focus was urine testing. Other companies have used the higher reimbursement rates for lab work conducted in rural hospitals to subsidize their operations. But Rennova has not announced plans to perform out-of-state lab work from the Tennessee facilities.