TOUR: Officials say Lee County Community Hospital set to open this summer

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LEE COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – Wednesday afternoon, Ballad Health officials provided an inside look at the future Lee County Community Hospital, set to open this summer.

In January 2019, Ballad Health officials revealed plans to reopen the facility that has been closed since 2013.

The Lee County Hospital closed when it was part of Wellmont Health System.

President of Ballad Health’s Northwest Market, Lindy White, said the upgraded facility in Lee County will offer telehealth options in-house and help connect patients with specialists in other regions.

“Obviously it started with the grassroots requests from the residents of Lee County, to bring back a hospital to this community. And of course, with the blessings of the support from the state, and our health system all the local and community leaders. We’ve been able to bring and integrate this partnership to together. And now we have the exciting. The exciting role is operators of getting this facility open in the summer of 2021 so we’re really excited about that,” she said.

“That is part of our mission is to bring healthcare services to communities where there’s a need. What’s exciting about this hospital coming back to this community is we’re able to bring emergency lifesaving care back close to home,” White said.

The Lee County Hospital Authority worked closely with Ballad Health to make the new Lee County hospital a reality, and to its commissioners, this hospital means the world.

“Well, on a personal note, I have two grandchildren who have severe allergies and just having the security of having emergency department this close, we live about two miles from here so hopefully we never need it, but the healthcare means a lot to this community, as well as the economic stimulus that this will provide jobs. And hopefully, help us attract other industry and whatever because without it I don’t think we ever will,” Lee County Hospital Authority Commissioner Howard Elliott told News Channel 11’s Bianca Marais. “Just the security of having health care, particularly emergency health care, back available this close to home. Prior to this hospital opening, you know, emergency services could be up to two-three hours away by the time you make a call and ambulance gets there, they get you to the closest facility, and parts of the county be two hours away from the emergency room and this cuts it drastically.”

The facility, built in the 1980’s has been retrofitted for upgrades that meet modern medical facility standards.

“The construction has been challenging this has been one of the more challenging projects I’ve ever worked on. You know the hospital was built in the 1980s and construction – healthcare construction – has changed significantly. The methods, and what is considered standard practice now. So trying to you know retrofit areas of, you know, new construction into, into a building that was built in the 80s has, there’s been a lot to a lot to work through and a lot of things to discuss and, you know, try to try to figure out how to just make that happen,” Nick Robinette, Ballad Health Corporate Director of Construction and Project Management told News Channel 11’s Bianca Marais.

Telemedicine is an everyday part of life nowadays, and Hospital Administrator Mitch Kennedy said the Lee County Community Hospital will accommodate these needs.

“To be able to bring specialists to this area such as in one of the other facilities tele Niswonger has been able to come into the emergency departments to be able to provide those extra specialties, to the ER physicians who may or may not feel very comfortable discharging or transporting a patient without the advice of some specialists, as long as those specialties that we have that we might be able to tap into. We will offer to the community without having to have them travel and to have local physicians be able to take care of them with the help and aid of those specialists,” he said.

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