U of Tennessee Medical Center must 'cease and desist' discussions over Blount Memorial

Lawyers representing troubled Maryville, Tenn.-based Blount Memorial Hospital are demanding the University of Tennessee Medical Center "cease and desist" any discussions with local government authorities to take over operations of the hospital.

In a letter obtained by Becker's and addressed to UTMC President Joseph Landsman the hospital's lawyers say such discussions are illegal and likely to incur costs if they continue.

"Given UTMC's known eagerness to enter into Blount County's market for health care services, please be advised that such an agreement with the County will clearly constitute intentional interference with a business relationship and subject UTMC to the payment of monetary damages and costs to Blount Memorial," the letter states.

The letter arises from an ongoing battle between hospital management and Blount County officials led by local Mayor Ed Mitchell, as to how best and who should operate the financially struggling hospital system.

Mr. Mitchell proposed UTMC take over operations of the hospital last month, a move vehemently opposed by hospital CEO Harold Naramore, MD.

UTMC declined to comment on the content of the letter.

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