Lee County has had a hospital within its boundaries for over 70 years. In October, 2013, that changed when Wellmont Health System, the current owner of the property just off of West Morgan Avenue in the Town of Pennington Gap, abruptly closed the facility, leaving many of the county's 25,000 residents to seek care at hospitals at least 30 minutes farther than they had previously travelled for care. Specifically, the closest hospital to Pennington Gap is Wellmont's Lonesome Pine Hospital, which is approximately 20 miles or 25 minutes under normal conditions in mountainous terrain.
This past April, the Lee County Board of Supervisors created the Lee County Hospital Authority (LCHA) and commissioned the LCHA to seek ways to re-open the shuttered facility or develop a new hospital. Since that time, the Authority has begun negotiations with Wellmont Health System to gain control of the existing facility so that hospital services may be returned to the County without delay.