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VOL. 11 | NO. 4 | Saturday, January 27, 2018

Citing Lack of Funds, Memphis Health Care Org Closes, New Group Steps In

By Andy Meek

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Knoxville-based Cherokee Health Systems has stepped in to continue operating the clinics of Memphis’ Resurrection Health, which closed its doors on Dec. 31 in part because of funding running out.

The Memphis-based health care organization had already agreed to merge with Cherokee in 2016. The closure, and Cherokee taking over operations, was a result partly of Congress in December approving a three-month continuing resolution that included less than half of the previous financial support that was available. According to a letter Resurrection distributed to supporters, an attempt at securing more federal funds for clinical care through other partnerships also fell through.

Cherokee took over operations Jan. 1.

Resurrection’s model was built around, in part, doing something about the trend of generations of medical students flocking to specialty practices that promise higher incomes, while primary care – internal medicine, pediatrics and the like – is sometimes seen as toward the bottom of the list of priorities.

Resurrection’s residency program trained residents in multiple disciplines along the family medicine and primary care spectrum. It had the capacity to train 24 doctors each year and was granted a 10-year accreditation cycle following a two-part site visit from the Residency Review Committee for Family Medicine last February.

“Being a part of Resurrection has changed all of us,” the letter to supporters reads. “We have seen God move on our behalf thousands of times. We have seen beautiful things happen in the lives of our patients and have loved serving our city through Rez Health. As our people scatter to other organizations and some to other cities and nations we trust that the Lord will continue to carry out the vision of Rez Health.”

Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen released a statement Friday, Jan. 26, commending Resurrection co-founder Dr. Rick Donlon and sharing his hope that the more than two dozen residents in the program are able to continue their work.

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