Ducktown mayor believes Medicaid expansion could have saved Copper Basin Medical Center
Ducktown Mayor Doug Collins said the expansion of Medicaid could have saved Copper Basin Medical Center from closing.
Copper Basin Medical Center closed in 2017. It left thousands of people without access to medical care.
For people like Sarah Potter, a Ducktown resident, a trip to the doctor is nearly an hour drive.
She said her grandpa is currently fighting cancer so trips to the hospital in Cleveland are frequent.
"It's a 45-minute drive and you got a river here and a mountain here so its really for somebody older too like I have to drive them to cause my paw could never drive that road, it's really bad," Potter said. "So I drive them to take them to the hospital, its a dangerous road too."
Mayor Collins said the hospital closed due to an overwhelming amount of debt.
"I mean just the same story if you look up any rural hospital in Tennessee or Georgia, pretty much the same story," Collins said.
Collins thinks the closing of the hospital was due to a variety of reasons including former Gov. Bill Haslam's decision not to expand Medicaid.
"I mean if they could have paid more or helped more, it could have definitely helped," Collins said.
He said city and county officials met with big named hospitals about the possibility of opening an emergency care clinic but no plans have been made.
For the time being, people will have to keep making the long drives for care.