County commissioners question Ballad's closure of ICU

Carter County, Tenn., commissioners questioned and shared their disappointment with Johnson City, Tenn.-based Ballad Health executives' decision to close the intensive care unit at Elizabethton, Tenn.-based Sycamore Shoals Hospital, the Elizabethton Star reported May 16.

The ICU will close June 4. Elizabethton residents needing intensive care will be transferred to Johnson City (Tenn.) Medical Center, about 10 miles away from Sycamore Shoals.

Commissioners are concerned that the closure could lead to the shuttering of more services and are disappointed that they had no advance notices of the changes, according to Commissioner Angie Odom.

Commissioner Kelly Collins also voiced concerns that the closure will harm taxpayers due to the increased travel of emergency services to Johnson City.

Ballad officials believe that the difficult choice will allow them to provide higher-quality ICU care at Johnson City and add new services to Sycamore Shoals.

No nurses will be laid off, according to Ballad Health leaders. Ballad also announced $2 million in new investments into Sycamore Shoals.

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