Knoxville’s Denominational Hospitals Desegregated

Church Hospitals All Desegregated Without Incident

The Knoxville News-Sentinel, August 4, 1963, Page A-9

Knoxville’s three denominational hospitals desegregated last week and underwent the change “smoothly,” the hospital administrators said.

Baptist, Presbyterian and St. Mary’s (Catholic) came to a final agreement on May 21 that they would all desegregate their facilities on Aug. 1 as a group.

They [sic] day came and went just like another day in their hospitals, the administrators said.

The administrators said the number of Negroes treated and admitted was not recorded.  Several Negroes were turned away from the hospitals, but not because of their race, the officials said.

The denominational hospitals have in recent years required persons who are admitted to have ample insurance to cover their hospitalization or put up $150.  “We are running a business and not a charity,” one official said.

But no emergency patient, regardless of race, will be turned away because of money, he added.  “A life is always more important than money.”

The administrators said persons who can’t pay are sent to University Hospital as service cases.  This has been the practice for a number of years.  University has been available to all races since it was opened.

University Hospital never turns a patient away because of money, an official said.  Something can always be worked out with the patient, he said, but they are made to pay later.

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