North Valley Medical Plaza to close ER in Dunlap - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

North Valley Medical Plaza to close ER in Dunlap

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DULAP, SEQUATCHIE COUNTY (WRCB) - The only emergency room in Sequatchie County is closing and there's not another one around for 22 miles.

Both Bledsoe County and Grandview in Jasper are about a half-hour away in travel time.

That has some residents concerned.

Come August 31, the doors will close for the emergency services at North Valley Medical Plaza. 

Dr. Debbie Daniel will keep her practice in the same building, but the emergency room will become an urgent care facility. 

Grandview Medical Center is the parent facility and says the bottom line is money.  

Executives issued a statement Wednesday that reads in part:

"In these challenging economic times, however, it has become increasingly difficult for North Valley Medical Plaza to sustain a positive level of operation because of the combination of declining reimbursement rates, skyrocketing unemployment and the rising number of uninsured.  As it stands today, North Valley is projected to lose almost one million dollars in 2010."

"That leaves us kind of in a pinch, doesn't it," says Sequatchie resident Jean Hinds.

Dr. Daniel says her practice will continue to reside in the same building and her services will not change.  She says she's unaware of the changes to come but did add, "Anytime any patient has to go any further, if they're critical."

The urgent care clinic will be open until 9:00 p.m. daily beginning September First.

We're told the ER handles 300 to 375 patients per month. 

As for the 20 employees currently working in the emergency room, Grandview executives declined to comment on their future. They say they're still working on that aspect of the change.

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