COVID-19 update from CEO Ed Curtis


Summit Medical Group patients:

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Fourth of July. I would like to pass along a heartfelt thank you to all of our Summit Medical Group (SMG) patients for trusting us with your care and having confidence that we are working tirelessly to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of our staff.

After returning from my extended holiday weekend, I provided an update to the physicians and staff of SMG regarding the impact of the extraordinary increase in positive COVID-19 cases East Tennessee is currently experiencing. My review covered all 13 counties in which SMG has sites. Within our footprint, we saw COVID-19 cases increase in Knox, Sevier, Jefferson, Hamblen, and Cocke counties by 58%, 60%, 81%, 108%, and 132% respectively. These increases occurred in just the past week. These staggering numbers remind me of last week’s interview by WBIR with Senator Richard Briggs. He commented about the fact that too many people are ignoring the COVID-19 guidelines and overlooking the larger economic impact. His words provided a sound, confident, trusted solution that strikes a balance between reopening our economy and protecting the health of our people/patients.

As I started receiving feedback from our physicians and staff, it occurred to me that our patients should also benefit from this week’s reminders regarding our infection control polices for both staff and patients. I have included a link to Senator Briggs’ interview for those of you that may have missed it. The senator reminded us that COVID-19 is not about politics and debunked the notion that requiring masks is a violation of one’s constitutional right. Thank you, Senator Briggs!

Listed below are SMG’s infection control policies and procedures and a link to Senator Briggs’ interview with WBIR.

  •  COVID-19 phone triage system: 

     - Patients can call in and be transferred to a nurse that will walk through a triage protocol to determine if you should be sent to one of our testing centers.

  •  All patients and staff are required to wear a mask that covers both nose and mouth at all times.

  •  All non-patient visitors: repair, maintenance, and delivery staff are required to wear a mask.

  •  Patients will be screened for symptoms and exposure via phone when scheduling their appointments and again at check-in. 

  •  SMG employees must complete a weekly symptom-free attestation form.

  •  SMG employees that require testing for COVID-19 have a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

  •  Sites have implemented patient separation policies (social distancing) to limit exposure.

  •  Link to SMG’s website for COVID-19 updates 

  •  Senator Briggs interview link

Thank you once again for entrusting your healthcare needs to Summit Medical Group. I hope you find this update useful, and I assure you that we will continue to work very closely with our local Departments of Health and the CDC in following what they determine are best practices.


Stay safe and be well.

Ed Curtis, CEO, Summit Medical Group