Construction starts on long-awaited Unicoi Co. hospital

UNICOI COUNTY, TN (WJHL)- After five years, dirt is finally moving and construction is underway on the new Unicoi County hospital. Dozens of hospital officials and political leaders broke ground Wednesday morning on the new Unicoi County hospital.

“Today is a great milestone for Unicoi County,” said Alan Levine, CEO of Mountain State Health Alliance. “What we are building here is a state of the art new model.”

This new facility will replace the current Unicoi County hospital. In recent years, the cost of maintaining Unicoi County’s hospital was more than it’s revenue.

For years, Mountain State has funded over $6 million of negative cash flow to keep the hospital open and keep healthcare accessible in the community.

“This hospital today would not be open if we did not do what we did four years ago,” said Levine. “It literally had no cash flow.”

With a new facility, Levine said the new hospital will provide high quality healthcare for the community.

“There are people that live here that go all the way to all the way to North Carolina, to Asheville for their care,” said Levine. “We would like to see that change, we would like to see people stay in Tennessee instead of going to North Carolina.”

Levine said he wants to change that.

“One of the things we want to do once we have the new hospital built we plan to invest heavily in recruitment of certain types of physicians and specialties so that people can actually try to seek as much care locally as possible,” said Levine.

Mountain State said the new facility will bring services needed in the community, such as a 24-hour emergency department and a chest pain center. The new hospital will be built at 2030 Temple Hill Road and is set to open in 2018.
Copyright WJHL 2017. All rights reserved.

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