Emergency service workers needed as Jellico’s hospital hopes to open soon

Jellico Mayor Dwight Osborn hopeful that their hospital will be open by the start of the school year
Jellico Mayor Dwight Osborn hopeful that their hospital will be open by the start of the school year
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 4:32 PM EDT
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CAMPBELL COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - Since November of 2020, there hasn’t been a patient treated in the Jellico Medical Center. In May of 2022, Mayor Dwight Osborn spoke with WVLT to discuss the challenges the city faces with operating a rural hospital.

In that conversation, the mayor spoke about issues that may still exist even when the facility is reopened.

“They normally have three units to cover the whole county during the day,” said Osborn when talking about the availability of ambulances around Jellico.

This presents an issue when it can take up to an hour at times for an ambulance to come to where you are and get you to a hospital, according to Osborn.

David Blevins at Roane State Community College sees the issue in a shortage of workers and is trying to help by producing qualified candidates over a three semester course. In 2020 when applicants were down, they graduated 11 paramedics, while this semester they’re looking to graduate 19. Over their year of training, they are going across the region to learn what each situation and county is like.

“We encourage and also require they do at least one rotation in a place that’s designated as a rural area,” said Blevins.

“A lot of them like the high pace of a Knoxville because there’s a lot of excitement. There’s an interstate system with a lot of accidents we have water ways and a lot of recreation,” said Blevins while also making sure to tell students that rural areas have a fast paced work flow as well.

Over the last few years there has been a steady increase in applicants and graduates going into the field of emergency services, according to Blevins.

Mayor Osborn was hopeful that the new hospital would be reopened before the start of school. In Campbell County, that is in two weeks.

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