Knoxville residents enjoy state-of-the-art medical care as the region boasts more than 23,000 medical professionals in specialties ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics.


The city is home to Tennessee’s flagship academic medical center; a nonprofit healthcare system named by Forbes magazine as one of America’s Best Employers; acute care hospitals operated by a Forbes 500 company; and a comprehensive regional pediatric hospital.

As an academic medical center, UT Medical Center develops physicians and healthcare providers for the future; carries out research activities to advance diagnostic and treatment methods; and provides state-of-the-art care through board-certified physicians, nurses and medical staff. Its Centers of Excellence include the Brain and Spine Institute, Cancer Institute, Center for Women & Children’s Health, Emergency and Trauma Services, Heart Lung Vascular Institute and the Advanced Orthopaedic Center.

An example of this combination of clinical research and compassionate care is the Pat Summitt Clinic, a strategic partnership between the legendary basketball coach’s foundation and the medical center that officially opened in January 2017. The medical center currently serves 3,000 patients and their families at the clinic and projects the need will double to 6,000 in the next five years.

The region’s largest employer is Covenant Health, the parent organization to nine acute-care hospitals, out-patient and specialty services, and Covenant Medical Group, its fast-growing physician practice division. Named by Forbes as one of America’s Best Employers in 2016 and 2017, Covenant Health employs more than 10,000 residents and is affiliated with 1,500 physicians.

Covenant Health and its member hospitals have been recognized both nationally and regionally for quality patient care. For example, the health system previously has been named in the top 20 percent among health systems in a national study by Truven Health Analytics. Quality awards have also come from The Joint Commission, VHA, and others. Covenant HomeCare has been recognized as the only home health agency in Tennessee and only one of 10 in the nation to reach Milestone 4 of a five-step Home Health Quality Improvement initiative aimed at preventing heart attack and strokes.

The third major hospital system in the Knoxville area is Tennova Health-care, which encompasses 16 hospitals and numerous health care service facilities across Tennessee. Tennova provides medical services and procedures at three hospitals in North and West Knoxville, and another three in more rural East Tennessee counties. Tennova is owned by Community Health Systems, based in Franklin, Tenn., one of the nation’s largest for-profit health system operators.

“Because children are special,” Knoxville’s East Tennessee Children’s Hospital is certified by the state of Tennessee as one of four Comprehensive Regional Pediatric Centers in Tennessee and is accredited by the Joint Commission. The hospital provides a unique environment and offers the services of many different pediatric subspecialties to care for children. Children’s Hospital also works jointly with the University of Tennessee Med-ical Center to ensure that injured children across the region receive trauma care at the institution most appropriate for the child’s needs.

Over the past two years, the hospital has begun treating patients in its Scripps Networks Tower, named for a generous donation from the Knoxville-based lifestyle media company. The tower includes a new neonatal intensive care unit with 44 private rooms so families can remain close to their newborns. Other features include an inpatient/outpatient surgery center, family lounge and resource center overlooking a rooftop garden and a computerized pediatric simulation center.

In part because of the significant investments that continue to be made in technology and facilities by health systems, Knoxville boasts a healthy supply of physicians and has been on the forefront of helping them to adapt to an ever-changing health care environment.

Summit Medical Group is East Tennessee’s largest primary care organization, comprised of more than 220 physicians who engage in almost 1 million patient encounters annually. Physicians groups affiliated with University Physicians Association and Covenant Health also benefit from the efficiencies those organizations bring to administration, allowing physicians and other medical professionals to focus on patient care.

The region’s quality of care has also benefited from the brainpower that the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory bring to Innovation Valley.

Longtime Knoxville entrepreneur Dr. Terry Douglass, a UT-educated engineer and collaborator with lab researchers, is the founder of Provision Health Alliance, a world-class comprehensive clinical outpatient center for cancer care with a wellness focus. The core is the Proton Therapy Center, using an innovative form of radiation therapy that focuses beams on tumors and results in less damage to adjacent tissue. Douglass’s firm ProNova is developing smaller, less expensive equipment that could make proton therapy more accessible worldwide. Whatever your medical needs are, Knoxville cares for you.

Article originally published in the 2018 Choose Knoxville Relocation Guide. Click here to read the full publication.