VOL. 114 | NO. 216 | Friday, November 3, 2000
After Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout gave his public support to the plan to create the University Hosptial of Tennessee and move
Baptist/UT hospital deal on life support
By SUE PEASE
The Daily News
Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout is still hopeful that the University Hospital of Tennessee can become a reality.
In a meeting at his office Thursday, he responded to Baptists announcement it was closing the doors of its Downtown location by saying the deal could still move forward but expressed his doubts it would continue as it appears on the table now.
"Where we are overall, there is always the chance that commissioners could reflect on this and perhaps change their position with the understanding that there is no more money but at this point it appears that there is no money.
"If the deal happens in the Baptist building, it will have to be based pretty much on what is on the table now, which is somewhere between $35 and $45 million worth of monies to go with the building and with the other properties," Rout said.
"I might add though, that in the event, and I hope it does work, but in the event that we are not able to do this with those dollars and with the Baptist building that the idea of a University Hospital of Tennessee is not dead."
The University Hospital of Tennessee would be a new hospital based on merging patients and resources from UT-Bowld Hospital and The Regional Medical Center under Baptists roof Downtown.
Initially, Baptist had filed for a Certificate of Need that allowed them build a 472-bed community hospital Downtown with expansion of the Baptist-East facility. Delays on the Baptist East and Collierville expansion projects redirected attention away from the Medical Center until about a year ago.
Baptist responded to the hospitals and health committee decision Wednesday with an announcement it would begin to close its facility, which left little room for the plan to succeed as it stands.
The response that there were more funds needed from Baptist in order for the deal to go through, came as a disappointment to Baptist officials.
"We were disappointed. We feel we put a very generous contribution on the table and it is disappointing that it would not be accepted. And even more so, because we felt that the concept of the University Hospital was such a great thing for the community," said Echelle Lane, director of corporate communications for Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp.
Lane said when The Med approached Baptist earlier this year to inquire about creating the new hospital in their building, it was willing to give up the facility, real estate and medical inventory, basically a total donation of $300 millions dollars.
Rout said the plan for the merger may still see the light of day.
"I guess perhaps I wear rose colored glasses, but I dont necessarily believe that as of today it is (over), tomorrow this time I may have to tell you it is the final chapter. There are still conversations going on and they will continue until I am convinced that there is not any more hope at allnot even a glimmer of hope to make it happen."