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Wednesday, Dec 15, 2021

Ballad Health enhances healthcare in Southwest Virginia with more than $9 million investment in Lonesome Pine Hospital

Ballad Health has unveiled new plans to expand healthcare services and provide further community support in Southwest Virginia, specifically by enhancing services in Lonesome Pine Hospital.

The health system has announced its plans to invest $9.3 million in Lonesome Pine Hospital renovations and expansions on the hospital campus. The investment is part of Ballad Health’s vision to facilitate long-term, sustainable healthcare at Lonesome Pine and includes the purchase of the neighboring Armory building from the town of Big Stone Gap.

“We’re very excited about the opportunities this investment can bring to Big Stone Gap and all of Southwest Virginia,” said Ballad Health Chief Operating Officer Eric Deaton. “By making these investments, Ballad Health is showing a continued commitment to Southwest Virginia. This will be the beginning of important advancements in healthcare for not only Big Stone Gap, but the entire Southwest Virginia region.”

About $1.5 million of the $9.3 million investment will fund renovations in the Lonesome Pine emergency department. The completed project will improve patient flow and visibility while also expanding the existing triage space. The renovations will eliminate congested areas in the emergency department and update the space to a more modern, patient-friendly environment.

Additionally, renovations will update the existing acuity adjusted unit, which provides a treatment model to allow for all stages of patient care, from admission to discharge. The facility will maintain 14 inpatient and observation beds. The updates will improve the unit’s function and flow to better accommodate patient needs and optimize patient results.

“The changes to the emergency department and acuity adjusted units will not only upgrade the look of the facility,” said Shannon Showalter, Ballad Health’s chief of operations in Wise, Lee and Dickenson Counties. “The new layout will also give us easier access to patients, which improves patient safety and leads to better outcomes.”

Ballad Health caregivers are advising on the design of the unit to alleviate unnecessary pressure on healthcare workers. “Right now, we’re seeking input from our frontline team members to ensure the renovated space empowers them to provide the best care possible,” said Showalter.

This announcement is the latest step Ballad Health is taking to improve healthcare in Southwest Virginia. Earlier this year, Ballad Health reaffirmed its commitment to serving the region by opening Lee County Community Hospital, the second rural hospital to open in the Appalachian Highlands in the past three years.

“With this investment, we’re continuing to enhance the high-quality healthcare we already have in Big Stone Gap,” Showalter said. “In June, together with the Lee County Hospital Authority, and the help of countless community members and legislators, Ballad Health opened Lee County Community Hospital at a time where most rural hospitals are closing. With these pledges to the Big Stone Gap and Wise County communities, Ballad Health is taking massive strides toward improving healthcare in Southwest Virginia.

“We’re honored to be able to further the legacy of Lonesome Pine and we look forward to the opportunities this will open for the whole region.”

Also included in the plan is $7.2 million to repurpose the former Armory building to accommodate additional offices for medical providers as well as an after-hours clinic with weekend and late weekday hours. The Armory site will also become home to an expanded sports medicine program, complete with robust physical therapy and wellness services.

The Armory site will be outfitted to provide primary care, behavioral health services, and other community-focused programs.

“To improve the overall health of the community, access to a primary care provider is critical, and Ballad Health’s recent investment in the former Armory building will help us better serve the Big Stone Gap community with that need,” said Dr. Mark Patterson, president of Ballad Health Medical Associates.

“Ballad Health remains committed to providing quality, accessible primary care for everyone in the Appalachian Highlands, and adding the Armory site to the Lonesome Pine campus will significantly enhance the services we are able to offer the communities of Big Stone Gap and Wise County.”

Construction at Lonesome Pine Hospital is expected to begin in Spring 2022.

“This is just a glimpse of what healthcare is going to look like ten, twenty years down the road, and we couldn’t be more excited about the future of healthcare here in Big Stone Gap and all of Southwest Virginia,” said Steve Lawson, town manager for Big Stone Gap. “Ballad Health has shown again and again they’re more than willing to step up to the plate for rural communities, and this announcement proves they’re not done investing in the future of our community.”