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Lee County Hospital Authority enters negotiations to reopen hospital

Pennington Gap, Va.-based Lee Regional Medical Center is one step closer to reopening after the Lee County Hospital Authority, which owns the property, signed a letter of intent to contract with Florida-based Americore Health, according to the Times-News.

Americore Health is an agency that specializes in managing, investing and acquiring rural hospitals, according to the article.

The hospital authority unanimously agreed to proceed with the transaction. Both entities agreed to a 60-day exclusive agreement to formulate a definitive contract, according to Lee County Hospital Authority Vice Chairman Ronnie Montgomery.

The letter of intent states that the hospital authority will continue to own the property and lease it to Americore Health for 20 years. The authority will also work with the company to acquire an additional five acres for a possible expansion of the existing building. Americore Health will be responsible for finalizing the facility's business and financial plan and hiring of new management. The company has also reportedly agreed to finance a new emergency room and critical access hospital in the Lee County hospital district, according to Mr. Montgomery.

Both entities have the option to terminate their affiliation if conditions are not met or they fail to reach an official agreement by Dec. 1.

Lee Regional Medical Center was shuttered by its former owner, Kingsport, Tenn.-based Wellmont Health Systems in 2013 after 70 years of operation. The hospital authority purchased the facility in 2015 for $1.6 million, according to the article.

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