Tennova Healthcare has acquired an option to purchase approximately 110 acres of land on Middlebrook Pike near Old Weisgarber Road.

Officials with Tennova Healthcare announced the option to purchase property on Middlebrook Pike near Old Weisgarber Road, one of the fastest growing areas of Knox County. Tennova will form an exploratory team of key stakeholders, through Tennova’s Metro Knoxville Board of Trustees, to provide recommendations on the best usage of the property, including the possibility of utilizing this land for a replacement hospital for Physicians Regional Medical Center.  The property resides on 110 acres of land, adjacent to existing medical facilities and practices.

“The decision to purchase this land was not reached overnight.  We considered the changing needs of our patients, new methods of reimbursement, and healthcare reform,” said Michael Garfield, Market CEO of Tennova Healthcare. “Purchasing an option on this land is the beginning of the process to ensure we are positioned to most effectively fulfill our mission and advance our vision for strong local health care and economic growth for our community.”

This new site also provides Tennova an opportunity to invest resources in high-quality services at a location that is most convenient and accessible for our patients throughout our 16 county service area. In the coming months, Tennova will work closely with physicians, the Board of Trustees, and associates to undertake a complete planning process for usage of the site.

Under consideration is the replacement of the current Physicians Regional Medical Center, formerly St. Mary’s Medical Center, located off Broadway in North Knoxville. The facility saw more than 53,000 patient interactions in its first year as Tennova and remains a vibrant medical campus. However, the hospital was built in 1933 and was previously built to support a former definition of acute care.  In considering the future of medicine, Tennova evaluated Physicians Regional’s existing site to see how it could best meet patient needs and fit into their regionalized strategy over the longer term.

“We have conducted an extensive review of Physicians Regional Medical Center’s existing plant and several factors – including the age of the facility, the difficulty of access for our patients and physicians to quickly get in and out, the amount of land available for expansion and the cost of upgrading infrastructure – make it economically infeasible to renovate as such that it would be as efficient and patient-friendly as a newer facility,” said Karen Metz, CEO of Physicians Regional Medical Center. “ “Physicians Regional Medical Center has proudly served the Knoxville community for more than 83 years, and we will continue to honor the legacy of the Sisters of Mercy by fulfilling our mission to provide care for people in need in the area,” said Metz.  “Regardless of the future of a new facility, we remain committed to providing the Oakwood Lincoln Park and downtown communities with access to high quality care, as well as to the continuation of our charity policies that were started by the Sisters of Mercy.”

The exploratory team will look at potential uses for Physicians Regional Medical Center, should a replacement hospital be built, and will evaluate services that would be appropriate for the area, which may also include an Emergency Room/Urgent Care Center and post-acute services.  The team will also review how the new development will complement Tennova’s existing facilities, including North Knoxville Medical Center and Turkey Creek Medical Center, who have both seen significant growth over the past year.

“Before a final recommendation can be made, much hard work is in front of us as we work alongside our physicians, associates and Board of Trustees through this process,” added Garfield. “Our commitment to delivering quality patient care will continue to remain the focus of everything we do.”