GOV. BREDESEN JOINS WELLMONT LEADERS, HANCOCK COUNTY OFFICIALS TO BREAK GROUND ON HOSPITAL

SNEEDVILLE – It has been more than a decade since the doors of Hancock County’s only hospital closed for the last time.

On Friday, Gov. Phil Bredesen joined Wellmont Health System leaders and the people of Hancock County to break ground on a new hospital that will restore desperately needed healthcare services to the rural area.

“This is truly a milestone day for our community,” said Greg Marion, Hancock County mayor. “Our new hospital will bring peace of mind to everyone who calls Hancock County home by providing the healthcare services our families need.”

Wellmont will partner with the Hancock County Commission to build and operate the $6 million, 10-bed critical access hospital. The county will fund construction of the hospital, which will be leased and operated by Wellmont.

Because the hospital will provide care in an area identified by the federal government as medically underserved, the facility will be designated a critical access hospital. The hospital, which will be located along Highway 33/Main Street, is expected to open by summer 2004.

“Our mission statement compels us to enhance our region’s health status,” said Eddie George, Wellmont president and chief executive officer. “No one should be forced to drive an hour or more to receive quality hospital care.

“Through our partnership with the Hancock County Commission, we’re bringing a top-quality hospital to the people of Sneedville and Hancock County.”

Once open, the hospital will provide inpatient and outpatient services, including emergency services, radiology, laboratory, respiratory therapy and physical therapy. Because the new hospital will be part of the Wellmont system, Hancock County residents will have access to full continuum of care.

Primary medical services will be offered on-site, while patients who need more advanced care can be seamlessly transferred to Hawkins County Memorial Hospital in Rogersville for secondary services or Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport for high-level – or tertiary – services.

“That’s the benefit our integrated healthcare delivery system brings to this region,” George said. “Our partnership of five – and soon to be six – hospitals ensures patients have access to the right care in the right place at the right time every time.”

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