Wellmont Health System announced Wednesday the company would be closing Lee Regional Medical Center located in Pennington Gap.
The company cited various reasons for the closure, including reimbursement cuts associated with the Affordable Care Act, extremely low community use of the hospital and a lack of consistent physician coverage.
Residents in Lee County had mixed reactions, but the majority of residents were upset.
“As a nurse this not only saddens me it scares me,” Teresa Fultz Rowland wrote on Facebook. “I had the misfortune of witnessing what a local hospital closing can cost a person.”
She said she worked at home health when she witnessed a patient have a heart attack. It took 40 minutes for the ambulance to get there and another 30 to 40 minutes before the patient arrived at a hospital. She said seconds really do count.
Residents of Pennington Gap, including Ashley Williams, were shocked to hear the news.
“Oh, wow,” she said. “I didn’t know that. My grandfather’s on oxygen and now he will have to drive to Holston Valley just to get seen,” Williams said.
Read more in Thursday's print edition of the Times-News, or the expanded electronic edition.
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