A lease between the City of La Follette and Tennova Healthcare appears to be in limbo.

Yesterday morning, Mark Cain, CEO of Tennova-La Follette Medical Center, met with the La Follette City Council to discuss the lease of approximately 19 acres of land on Independence Lane (near CVS). The lease is believed to have originated in 2011 between the city and a company referred to as HMA during the brief meeting.

Tennova would like to purchase the University of Tennessee Medical Building adjacent to the property, instead of building a new building, Cain told the council.

Currently Dr. Charles Baker and Dr. James Farris, who had an office in the building, are now working at the Tennova LaFollette, according to Cain.

A search of property records revealed the 20,000 square foot building is owned by LaF A Lot Partners, LLC. The LLC is reportedly owned by three people, according to an Internet records search. The building is appraised at just over $2.3 million, assessment.tn.gov reported.

“I’m trying to retain doctors and recruit doctors and the UT building would allow space to do this,” said Cain.

Reid Troutman, city attorney, brought the discussion back to the preliminary plans with HMA from several years ago to build an ambulatory care and physicians building.

“The problem with the plan is it can’t be done with $2.4 million they (Tennova) have allocated,” Cain said.  “By purchasing the existing building, there would be money left out of the $2.4 million to make some improvements at the hospital,” he added.

Councilman Bill Archer said hospitals are struggling to stay above water at this time.

“That’s why I don’t have a lot of extra money to work with at this time,” Cain said. “We’re making money, but not enough.” Troutman asked if the hospital was financially okay at this time.  “The hospital is currently in the black,” said Cain.

Cain told the council the city had been a great neighbor for his hospital. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED  08/09/2018-6AM)