Published: 16 May 2001
Analyst(s): Patrick J. C. Powers, Nancy Rubini
Management Summary The healthcare market in Knoxville, Tennessee, is relatively stable compared to more competitive areas where factors such as overbedding or economic weakness have put pressure on healthcare providers and payer organizations. Knoxville's hospitals and managed-care organizations are benefiting from strong and steady population growth in nearly all counties. Between 1990 and 2000, population growth in the Knoxville metropolitan statistical area (MSA) exceeded 17 percent. Sevier County and Union County grew 39 percent and 30 percent, respectively. As Knoxville healthcare providers face rising medical and pharmaceutical costs, decreasing federal, state and commercial reimbursement, and competition for labor, the population growth has given them a continuous and diverse flow of patients of all ages. In an effort to attract loyalty among young families, many hospitals are offering enhanced women's services. Outpatient programs, including ambulatory surgery, fitness and wellness programs continue to be a priority for hospitals. Knoxville's managed-care market is active and largely stable, and is not experiencing the upheaval that many other midsize healthcare markets have recently encountered. Since 1999, there have been no mergers, no efforts by for-profit healthcare corporations to enter the market, and no serious threats to the status quo. The Medicare-risk and Medicaid-risk markets are more dynamic and uncertain than the commercial managed-care markets. Federal and state managed-care reimbursements for the elderly and poor continue to fluctuate, despite recent federal and state initiatives to increased reimbursement levels somewhat. Knoxville has four hospital systems that control approximately 88 percent of the inpatient market. Covenant Health, the largest integrated delivery system (IDS) accounts for 42 percent of discharges; The University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville (UTMCK) accounts for 21 percent of discharges; St. Mary's...
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