Tennessee hospital CEO to resign

Harold Naramore, MD, CEO of Maryville, Tenn.-based Blount Memorial Hospital, is resigning, effective Jan. 1, a hospital spokesperson confirmed to multiple media outlets.

Dr. Naramore was named CEO on June 9, 2022, after serving as the hospital's chief medical officer for more than 12 years. He succeeded Don Heinemann, who decided to retire. 

Dr. Naramore's tenure has been tumultuous. On June 13, 2022, local mayors sent a letter to the hospital's board, raising concerns about the process used for choosing the new CEO. They questioned whether state law and hospital policies were strictly followed during the process of choosing a new CEO, according to NBC affiliate WBIR. The hospital defended the selection process. 

Following the letter, the hospital and Blount County Commission became involved in a battle over hospital assets and property, according to WBIR. In December 2022, Blount Memorial Hospital filed a lawsuit declaring independence from local government. The suit alleged only the hospital board and management have the power to operate and manage the hospital and that Blount County local government has no authority to remove any hospital directors. Late last year, the Blount County Commission voted to immediately remove three hospital board members appointed by the county. 

In February, Ed Mitchell, the mayor of Blount County, sought to transfer operations ownership of the hospital to Knoxville-based University of Tennessee Medical Center. Dr. Naramore subsequently accused the mayor of interfering in hospital operations, and lawyers representing the hospital demanded that the University of Tennessee Medical Center "cease and desist" any discussions with local government authorities to take over operations.

In March, the Blount County Commission approved talks between Mr. Mitchell and the University of Tennessee Medical Center about the future of the hospital. Discussions about a merger between Blount Memorial Physicians Group and Knoxville-based Covenant Health then started in April, according to WBIR.  

According to ABC affiliate WATE, Dr. Naramore's successor has not been announced.

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