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Mercy will become Tennova, new hospital names announced

5:55 PM, Sep 1, 2011   |    comments
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Six East Tennessee hospitals will soon have new names.

Mercy Health Partners and Health Management Associates, Inc. announced Thursday that the East Tennessee hospital system will change its name from Mercy to Tennova Healthcare. The name change will become effective immediately following the anticipated October closing of Health Management's acquisition of Mercy.

"We are excited and proud of the new name," said Jeffrey A. Ashin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Health Partners. "Tennova Healthcare, which translates to 'new healthcare for Tennessee', accomplishes the goal of a new identity that reflects the culture of the Mercy family of hospitals and the important role they play in East Tennessee."

The first part of "Tennova" connotes Mercy's roots in Tennessee. The second part of the name - "nova" - is formed from the Latin word "novare", meaning "to make new." It is also the foundation of the English word innovation, which will be the hallmark of Tennova's approach to healthcare delivery and is one of the six pillars upon which all Health Management hospitals are built. The new name supports Health Management's desire to grow the Mercy system into the future, build upon its longstanding mission, and succeed as the leading provider of healthcare in the region.

"Together, the combined words - Tennova - carry a promise of delivering the latest in healthcare for residents in East Tennessee," said Britt T. Reynolds, Division 1 President for Health Management. "It's a promise of new technologies to advance the art and science of medicine, new state-of-the-art equipment for use by skilled physicians, new and expanded services, and innovative new ways to deliver healthcare to this region."

The Tennova emblem has been carefully crafted to include a bold font that represents strength and the primary color of green that connotes a forward-thinking, growing organization which welcomes patients and their families to new thinking about healthcare. In addition, the mark includes elements that honor the faith-based legacy of both the St. Mary's and Baptist systems, including the cross that appears at the letter "t" in Healthcare. To the left of the cross is "heal", which signifies Tennova's mission to maintain the faith-based, healing ministry that the community expects from Mercy and St. Mary's.

In addition to the system name change, six of the seven individual hospitals included in the transaction will be renamed as follows:

  • Physicians Regional Medical Center (previously Mercy Medical Center St. Mary's)
  • Turkey Creek Medical Center (previously Mercy Medical Center West)
  • Jefferson Memorial Hospital (previously St. Mary's Jefferson Memorial Hospital)
  • Newport Medical Center (previously Baptist Hospital of Cocke County)
  • LaFollette Medical Center (previously St. Mary's Medical Center of Campbell County)
  • North Knoxville Medical Center (previously Mercy Medical Center North in Powell)

The name of St. Mary's Medical Center Scott County will not change because it will not be part of the Tennova system in 2012.

The use of the new names begins when the transaction is complete, although the placement of the new names on signage and hospital materials will occur over time.

As part of the agreement, the Mercy system name must change because other hospitals using that name will continue to operate under Catholic Health Partners, the current parent company of Mercy in Tennessee. For more information on the Tennova transition, visit

Meanwhile, the old Baptist hospital, now known as Riverside, will simply remain as is.

"It could be a mixed-used combination of some healthcare services, and it could ultimately, long-term, not be used for healthcare at all but something very appropriate and tasteful for the community," Reynolds said.

Bishop Richard F. Stika released a statement regarding the announcement.

"In general, I am pleased with the new name because I understand that the first part of the 'Tennova' signifies St. Mary's Hospital's roots in Tennessee. Since 1930, with the opening of St. Mary's Hospital by the Sisters of Mercy, the Knoxville community has enjoyed the many benefits of Catholic health care - benefits that were not merely physical but also spiritual. In recent years that Catholic presence spread to numerous regional facilities as St. Mary's became Mercy Health Partners and extended the healing touch of Jesus Christ throughout East Tennessee," Bishop Stika said. "I am also pleased that the Tennova emblem has been carefully crafted to include a cross that appears at the letter 't' in Healthcare and that this is intended to honor the faith-based legacy of St. Mary's." 

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