Few hospitals have the up-and-down history of Johnson County Community Hospital in Mountain City, Tenn. It has been in several different buildings, operating with different sets of services under different names, and has closed down completely on two occasions.

But with the support of MSHA, the hospital has found stability while providing the people of the community with the health care services they need.

“Even a little community like us, even through the years we operated in the red, they never walked away from us,” Minnie Miller said of MSHA. “If they were ever going to close one, it would’ve been us.”

Miller is a former director of schools in Johnson County and is now retired. She serves on the Mountain States Foundation board and was a JCCH board member for six years.

“Our hospital had closed multiple times and Mountain States came to our rescue,” she said. “MSHA did the strategic plan here and helped us identify health care needs in our community and services that people would choose to use in our community.

“After identifying those needs, they built our new facility, and for a while it was still in the red but never once did they walk away and say ‘This won’t work.’ They kept adding services people would use. “I really believe in a strategic plan because it really helped us survive. And the last six years we’ve operated in the black.”

Johnson County Community Hospital is now a two-bed, critical access hospital offering hometown inpatient care coupled with a state-of-the-art, 24-hour emergency department. Outpatient and primary care services are provided by Johnson County Medical Group.

It is one of the smallest hospitals in the nation, but JCCH had more than 10,000 emergency department visits in 2011, and a financial impact study by East Tennessee State University showed an economic impact on Johnson County of more than $7 million per year.

A dedicated staff of physicians, physical therapists and other health care professionals provide numerous services including cardiac rehabilitation, respiratory therapy and diagnostic services such as CT scans, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, mammography, physical therapy and laboratory services. The JCCH outreach personnel provide health education at community events and onsite influenza vaccines to local industry.

JCCH was designated a critical access hospital in 2001. It received the 2011 Rural Health Quality Award from the National Rural Health Association and the 2011 HealthLeaders Media’s Top Leadership Team Award for Small and Rural Hospitals.

Keeping Johnson County Community Hospital open to serve the people of Johnson County was crucial, and with planning and persistence on the part of MSHA and JCCH, the facility is thriving as it meets the needs of the community.

“With MSHA, it was about putting people first,” Miller said.