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East Tennessee hospital chain reports major financial issues

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Rennova said it is $49 million in debt and past due on all its payments.

A troubled East Tennessee hospital chain said this week it owes $49 million and spends $2 for every $1 it makes. 

Rennova runs the Big South Fork Medical Center in Oneida and the Jellico Community Hospital in Campbell County. It owns the Jamestown Regional Medical Center which closed last summer after major financial issues. 

An annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed the company in dire financial straits. 

"We have accumulated significant losses and negative cash flows," it said. "Our cash position is critically deficient. Critical payments, including payroll taxes, are not being made in the ordinary course of business." 

Rennova owes millions of dollars, too. 

The company said at the end of 2019, "we had total debt outstanding of approximately $49 million, all of which is short term and all of which is past due." 

It is facing $6.9 million in fines for missing payments. 

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But Rennova is paying some people. CEO Seamus Lagan made $399,000 in 2019, the filing said. That is about $37,000 less than he made in 2018. 

Since the start of 2020, the company said it has paid $1.1 million in back taxes to the IRS. 

But the filing does not show who is caught in the middle: 241 employees, mostly at the hospitals in Jellico and Scott county where the Big South Fork Regional Medical Center is the only hospital. 

Together with employees at the now-closed Jamestown facility, they saw 41,000 patients last year. 

People whose only option for medical help is often Rennova, which said if it does not get money soon it will not be able to succeed.