Otey Dudley can sympathize with any community that is worried about the future of its hospital. Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Va., was in that situation and was faced with a choice about who to trust with the community’s health care needs.

They chose to join Mountain States Health Alliance in 2009 and have seen tremendous benefits, starting with the new 500,000-square-foot facility that opened in 2011.

New Johnston Memorial Hospital

Otey is a former chairman and longtime member of the JMH board of trustees. He was among the community leaders charged with deciding the hospital’s fate.

“We were an independent hospital, had been in existence for more than 100 years, and we were faced with a physical facility that had been added to piece-meal and was in need of serious renovation,” Dudley said. “Our quandary was to go forward with that, or go with a new facility, and by partnering with Mountain States we were able to build a new facility and provide a great resource for our community.

“In doing this, Mountain States worked with our local board to develop a plan, a design and do full implementation. It was a cooperative arrangement, and everything Mountain States told us they would do, they have done.”

The new facility includes a 116-bed, LEED-certified hospital (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) that includes a Regional Cancer Center and a medical office building.

“In addition to a new facility, we’ve expanded services to the community, including cardiac services and a new cath lab, with more things under study,” Dudley said.

Among the enhancements to JMH since joining MSHA:

  • Introduced cardiac catheterization lab
  • Introduced air ambulance service
  • Doubled size of ER
  • Doubled OR capacity, bigger suites
  • Built to have room for expansion
  • Expanded cancer services to become Regional Cancer Center


The new JMH has meant improved physician recruitment, including adding radiologists with high-level training; enhanced diabetes care, with more practitioners; the introduction of a hyperbaric chamber and the first physician diabetes certification in the nation.


MSHA’s presence in the community has been felt in many ways. The health care system has effectively matched JMH’s contributions to the area, thus doubling the hospital’s investment in the community, including for local arts programs and schools.


“I felt that choosing Mountain States was the correct decision at that time, and three years later I’m still convinced it was the right decision,” Peacock said.