Christian Care Center bringing new life to old hospital in Erwin

Sue Guinn Legg • Jan 19, 2019 at 8:44 PM

ERWIN — Christian Care Centers is bringing new life to the old Unicoi County Memorial Hospital.

Per a 10-year, renewable lease approved by the UCMH Control Board members in November, Christian Care Centers took over the former Unicoi County Long Term Care center on Jan. 1 with plans for major expansion into the old hospital building.

The facility has since increased physician services with a nurse practitioner now on site five days a week, new respiratory therapy services complementing the facility’s existing physical, speech and occupational therapy services and new electronic medical records technology.

Plans for renovation of the old hospital located adjacent to the care center include:

• Private patient rooms for all 46 of the care center’s existing beds.

• Expanded dining room facilities.

• A new chapel.

• More resident day rooms.

• A new physician’s exam room and treatment area.

• Updated nursing stations.

• All new furniture.

• Additional renovated space for affordable leasing by other healthcare providers and support services.

Joy Powers, regional client operations consultant for Care Centers Management Consulting, said the newly renovated space beyond that used by the care center will be made available “at very minimal cost based on overhead and maintenance. We are especially interested in adult and child day care centers and physician services, particularly specialty physician services,” she said.

Plans for renovation have been submitted to the Tennessee Department of Health for approval. Following state approval, Powers said the renovations are expected to take six months or longer.

“Bringing older construction up to current construction and life safety codes can be a very complex process,” she said. “It is probable that some revisions to our plans will be required. This could take a few months or much longer, but we are hopeful for a speedy process. After approval is granted it should take about six months to complete the renovation. However, depending on what problems arise, these matters can sometimes take longer than expected.”

Because there will be no increase in the number of existing beds, Powers said, the expansion will have a “very minimal impact on” the need for additional long-term-care providers but may create a need for additional support staff at the center.

As for the expansion’s impact on the care center’s residents and surrounding community, Powers said, “We believe the additional private rooms will add significant quality to the lives of our current and future residents. We also hope to bring additional physicians and other support services to area.

“We are committed to supporting community affairs and to providing quality services that will benefit the citizens and the community life of Erwin and Unicoi County.”

Powers said Christian Care Centers is excited about its opportunities to work with the people of county and especially grateful to UCMH Board of Control members for their involvement and support for the care center’s future plans.

Information about newly renovated space may be obtained by calling Powers at 423-948-1038.

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