UNICOI COUNTY, Tenn. - It's been months since Unicoi County Memorial Hospital accepted a purchase offer from Mountain States Health Alliance, and the lot where the future hospital is set to be built is still empty.
Now the Tennessee Attorney General has thrown the hospital another curveball.
News 5 spoke to the chairman of the Board of Control, Roland Bailey. "[The Attorney General] stated that we did not meet the open meetings law. That was a surprise because we felt that we had and we still feel we have," he said.
Attorney General Bob Cooper also stated that in order to move forward, the transaction must be approved by the city and county. In addition, the proposed $1.5 million in funds must be used strictly for health care purposes.
Thursday night, the hospital board of control met and talked about what they have to do to meet those requirements. "Regroup. We're going to come back and make changes required, move forward, and get this thing finalized," Bailey says.
Currently, Unicoi County Memorial Hospital only has $300,000 remaining in their line of credit, which could have them asking for help. "If we get into additional financial trouble, I think Mountain States will step up. I don't have that for sure, but I have confidence in them," Bailey said.
But Bailey says he's just focused on moving forward with the Attorney General's requirements and focusing on the patient's needs. "We feel once we get this transferred, those things will start getting done and you can see the improvement and our citizens will reap the benefits of Mountain States coming in our area," he said.
The next Board of Control meeting will be held Monday, July 15.