Saga at Tennessee hospital continues as former CEO apparently forced out

The former CEO of troubled Maryville, Tenn.-based Blount Memorial Hospital was forced out with a $1.2 million payment even as officials at the hospital publicly said he had voluntarily retired, court documents obtained by Becker's claim.

As well as the payment, Don Heinemann was also obliged not to discuss anything around his exit under a confidentiality clause imposed by the hospital board, according to the court documents filed by the county in response to a complaint from the hospital.

Current CEO Harold Naramore, appointed in June 2022, was also paid a "significant" salary ($500,000) with a "significant" bonus at a time when the hospital was in "dire financial circumstances," the documents say. The Blount County mayor and local government have been in dispute with the hospital over the running of the facility for several months.

The news also comes shortly after the hospital's CFO, Jonathan Smith, said in a public Nov. 29 meeting that nurses and other staff at the hospital will not be seeing any overtime or bonus payments in 2023 to try and stem some of the financial losses the hospital is experiencing. The hospital has predicted such losses to total approximately $70 million in 2022.

Blount Memorial has repeatedly not responded to approaches from Becker's for further comment.

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