After rural hospital’s closure, county seeks other options

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — About two years ago a rural, mountainous Virginia county lost its only hospital, and local officials have now all but given up trying to bring it back.

Gov. Ralph Northam signed bipartisan emergency legislation intended to help the Pioneer Community Hospital reopen. But in recent interviews, community leaders say they have moved on to seeking other ways to improve health care services in a county that sorely needs it.

They hope a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission can help.

Officials say the main obstacle in the effort to reopen the hospital has been the $5 million price tag on the 1960s-era facility.

Patrick County isn’t alone in its struggle. Rural hospitals across the country are closing, and it’s rare for one to reopen after a shutdown.

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