County board cuts ties with company picked to reopen hospital

This Aug. 25, 2018, photo shows the Lee County Medical Center in Pennington Gap, Va. Virginia's westernmost county had appeared to be on track to reopen its only hospital, a rare accomplishment a rural community anywhere in the country. But questions involving the company expected to run the Lee County facility have thrown the plan into question at the last minute. (AP Photo/Earl Neikirk)
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PENNINGTON GAP, Va. (AP) -- Officials in a rural Virginia county are cutting ties with a company they partnered with to reopen a hospital.

News outlets report that the Lee County Hospital Authority announced Thursday that it's parting ways with Americore Health after it failed to meet deadlines, most recently a Dec. 31 deadline to reopen the hospital.

Commissioner Howard Elliot says after Americore stopped responding, Chairman Ronnie Montgomery sent letters of default. The board ratified that action Thursday.

Attorney Jeff Mitchell says he expects the board to approve separation terms Monday that include regaining possession of the building.

Lee County Regional Medical Center closed in 2013. The authority sold it to Americore in 2017 and they entered a management agreement.

WJHL-TV reports Americore CEO Grant White says he was unaware of the decision.

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