MSHA not to blame for delays in hospital reopening

Mountain States Health Alliance says it is not to blame for delays in re-opening a Southwest Virginia Hospital.

Lee Regional Medical Center closed in October of 2013. Wellmont Health System said they had no choice because of a lack of patients and federal reimbursements for patient care.

At the  Southwest Virginia Health Authority meeting on Wednesday, some blamed the delay in reopening the hospital on the proposed merger between Mountain States and Wellmont.

Mountain States CEO Alan Levine said the delay has nothing to do with the merger. Levine said without the savings the merger will bring, Mountain States won’t have the resources to guarantee anything in Lee County.

After Wellmont closed the hospital, Levine said Mountain States agreed to help the Lee County Hospital Authority bring health care service back to the county. Levine said the intent to help is the only formal agreement signed by Lee County Hospital Authority and Mountain States.

The plan was to open an urgent care center last year, and eventually reopen the hospital but that did not happen.

Levine said a few road blocks are to blame including an agreement between Wellmont and Lee County Hospital Authority saying Wellmont would have to approve any one else running the hospital.

He also said another cause for the delay was the hospital authority said they had about 14 million dollars, but that never came through.

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