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Scott County sending resolutions opposing Ballad plans to health departments

Holly Viers • Dec 7, 2018 at 11:30 AM

GATE CITY – Though it was not on the agenda, Ballad Health was once again a topic of discussion at Wednesday’s meeting of the Scott County Board of Supervisors.

On Nov. 26, the BOS held a special called meeting to discuss Ballad’s planned changes to trauma and neonatal intensive care services. At that meeting, the board voted to send resolutions to Ballad Health’s management opposing the changes.

On Wednesday, the BOS voted to take it a step further by sending those same resolutions to the health departments in Tennessee and Virginia.

“I understand the cost of keeping a Level 1, even a Level 2, versus Level 3 is a tremendous amount of money,” said Supervisor Danny Mann. “I understand that, but we’re giving up a lot to lose Bristol from Level 2 to Level 3 and Holston Valley from Level 1 to Level 3. Health care costs a lot; it does. But to give that up, I think it’s foolish to do that.”

What do the resolutions say?

As previously reported by the Times News, Scott County’s first resolution opposes Ballad Health’s plan to downgrade Holston Valley Medical Center from a Level 1 to a Level 3 trauma center and to consolidate NICU services at Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

The second resolution requests that Ballad Health’s Board of Directors consider maintaining at least a Level 2 trauma center at Holston Valley Medical Center.

What’s happened since the called meeting?

Mann said he and BOS Chairman David Redwine spoke to a Ballad Health official on Wednesday and got the impression that Ballad plans to move forward with its current plan, despite the resolutions.

“I don’t think Ballad’s going to change anything of what they’ve presented to us,” Mann said. “I was hoping they’d maybe go with a Level 2 (at Holston Valley) … and maybe they would keep the NICU, but their plan is to go forward with what they’ve presented here, a Level 3 and do away with the NICU at Holston Valley.”

Supervisor Marshall Tipton was the first to mention forwarding the resolutions to the health departments, noting that “it couldn’t hurt.” The BOS unanimously approved the suggestion, with Redwine adding that Virginia senators and other elected officials are continuing to monitor the situation.

“They have no decision-making power with Tennessee corporations, but they are obligated to protect and try to represent the people of Virginia, and if that’s where we go to get our health care, then they can make some phone calls,” Redwine said. “And I feel like anything we can do to keep this in front of people of power, we’re doing ourselves and the citizens a service.”

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