Lee County

Lee Regional Medical Center shuts down

LEE COUNTY, Va. - Lee Regional Medical Center closes its doors for good as of 12:00 a.m. Tuesday.

For weeks patients and hospital staff have been trying to figure out what to do with out their longtime hospital in Lee County, Virginia.

Longtime Lee County resident Don Williams said, "I was at the ball game the other night when a boy got hurt and had to be transported to a hospital and my wife turned to me and said where does he go in two weeks?".

Lee Regional Medical Center has been serving the community for 70 years.

Wellmont Health System says Medicare cuts, low patient volumes, and lack of reliable doctor coverage forced them to close the hospital.

Spokesman Jim Wozniak said they've been moving equipment out and meeting with staff to talk about their job options.

"Because of the size of our organization we consistently we openings within our organization and they are more than welcome to try for one of those positions", Wozniak said.

Wozniak told News 5 WCYB some patients will not have to travel far to see a doctor.

"Our physicians with Wellmont who see primary care patients will be continuing to see patients in one of the annexes to the hospital", said Wozniak.

Still others will have to drive at least 30 minutes to Lonesome Pine Hospital in Big Stone Gap.

Members of the community like Don Williams say having no convenient hospital makes it tough to bring more people and jobs to Lee County.

Williams said, "We're losing jobs all over the county and we never did have enough here to do much with and now it's a blow to our whole county. our county is hurting right now".

Wellmont Health System has not decided what to do with the building yet.  For now they've moved the equipment out and will secure the facility.

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