Unicoi County

Speaking up for a hospital's future

ERWIN, Tenn. - Healthcare is on the minds of folks in Unicoi County, Tenn; many are wondering what will happen to their hospital.


Hundreds gathered in Erwin, Tenn. to voice their opinion on Unicoi County Memorial Hospital. There are two options, Wellmont Health System or Mountain States Health Alliance.


Alma Shell of Unicoi County said, "If we don't get Wellmont, we won't have a choice. We'll have to drive to Johnson City."


Signs, name tags, and a petition of more than 400 names were all measures the public took to voice their opinion.


"I know everyone says we won't have a choice, but we have a choice, and my choice is Mountain States Health Alliance," says Erwin resident Lori English.


Both medical systems got an opportunity to present their proposals before the public responded with questions.


"If Mountain States takes it they will have full control of Johnson City to North Carolina and we don't want that," says Jim Buchanan of Unicoi County.


Sharron Grindstaff added, "It is a 10 minute flight from here to Johnson City; that much time can definitely make a difference in a patient's life."


The hospital's future now lies in the hands of its seven board members. The Unicoi County Commission reappointed two of the hospital's board members on Monday. No date has been set for a final decision on the hospital.

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