County without a hospital may get one next year

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PENNINGTON GAP, Va. (AP) -- A health care system official says work is underway to reopen a southwest Virginia county's only hospital.

The Roanoke Times reports Ballad Health Chief Administrative Officer Marvin Eichorn said earlier this week that the Lee County hospital will reopen next fall.

Eichorn says renovations are continuing to bring the building in Pennington Gap up to code. He also says paperwork will be filed soon to gain billing approval.

The hospital closed in 2013 and residents have mounted an intensive community campaign to get it reopened. It looked last year like the facility might reopen, but the Florida company that was supposed to be running it failed to meet deadlines.

Ballad on Wednesday opened a new urgent care center in Lee County that will offer X-ray and lab capabilities.

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