Tennessee hospital still behind on paychecks, relying more on outside staff, employees say

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Employees at Big South Fork Medical Center in Oneida, Tenn., say the hospital is still behind on paying them and relying more on staffing agency workers amid frustrations over the payroll issue, according to The Independent Herald.

The hospital, owned by the embattled West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Rennova Health, paid employees April 30, the newspaper confirmed. However, it was still four weeks behind on payroll as of that date.

Recently, at least six more nurses have skipped their work shifts, and the hospital was working to cover those shifts with the staffing agency, an employee told The Independent Herald.

Employees also reportedly sent more emails to the hospital's upper management recently, expressing frustration with the payroll issue and lack of communication about when they can expect to be paid.

"When we ask in the middle of the week about payroll, we are told that it isn't payday yet," one employee told the newspaper. "We feel that every day is payday until we are caught up in full."

Big South Fork Medical Center has previously struggled with delayed paychecks, and Rennova in April reported late payroll and cash deficiencies.

The company said it posted revenue of $7.2 million in 2020, compared to $16 million a year prior. It attributed the decline to factors including the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as "staffing issues and supply shortages caused by cash constraints."

The company closed its Jellico (Tenn.) Medical Center March 1, after the city of Jellico voted Feb. 25 to send a contract termination notice to Rennova. The company's Jamestown (Tenn.) Regional Medical Center also suspended operations in June 2019, although the company said it plans to reopen the facility when it has the necessary capital. 

Becker's has reached out to Rennova and will update the story if additional information is received.

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