The Florida-based lab test company turned hospital operator Rennova Health said Monday it has opened an office in Knoxville, Tenn. to oversee its provider operations.
The announcement follows Rennova's news earlier this month that the West Palm Beach-based company was separating its software and diagnostics divisions from its rural hospital operations, called Rennova Community Health, Inc., in an all-stock deal.
Seamus Lagan, Rennova's CEO, wrote in an email that having a Knoxville office will improve oversight of Rennova's three hospitals—one of which has been closed for a year—and a physician's office in Kentucky.
"There are a number of management services that can be centralised in one location and we are confident that Knoxville is the correct location from which to service our east Tennessee and Kentucky operations," he said.
Rennova's news release said Michael Alexander is now chief operating officer of Rennova Community Health. Alexander was most recently CEO of Jamestown Regional Medical Center, which closed in June 2019 after the CMS pulled its billing privileges. That title is now on hold, he said, although the company is still working on creating a financing plan to reopen the hospital.
In the meantime, Alexander said, he lives in Knoxville, so the Knoxville office was the best way for Rennova to make use of his expertise. Having one office that covers three hospitals will allow Rennova to centralize services like payroll and purchasing, making the operation more cost efficient, Alexander said.
"We're trying to do the best we can to provide good quality care for the people in the areas of our hospitals," he said. "That's our first priority. We think we can do it more efficiently as a group than as individual hospitals."
Lagan said it was logical to ask Alexander to assume the COO role, and said he'll still be responsible for the reopening of the Jamestown hospital. Lagan has pledged to reopen the hospital for the entire year it has been closed, but has not shared how he plans to do so.
"As we get closer to that date we can reassess the management needs," Lagan said.
Alexander was previously administrator of Tanner Health Systems in Georgia.
Rennova's foray into rural hospitals has been rocky to say the least. CMS inspection reports show vendors had at points stopped bringing key supplies to all three of its hospitals due to late payments.
The mess has even drawn the attention of a U.S. senator, who questioned whether Rennova could run hospitals, citing reports that the company had missed payroll.
Rennova reporting losing an eye-popping $163 million in the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2019 on just $13 million in revenue.