Scott County Hospital's reopening has changed from October 1 to mid-November because of a paperwork delay.
On Monday, two weeks before the original slated opening of the 25-bed medical center, Scott County Mayor Jeff Tibbals said the hospital is still in the process of transferal to S.M. Promen from its previous owner, Health Management Associates.
"We're still working through the attorneys, and the attorneys have to go through their scenarios to make sure when a county or a publicly owned property is conveyed to a 'for-profit' entity, there are lots of stringent requirements from the attorney general," Tibbals said.
The delay has left many Scott County residents frustrated and without quick access to emergency medical staff.
Resident Rhiane Hughett recently experienced how the distance can affect emergencies.
"I was actually in a car accident and I had to drive all the way to LaFollette to get to the hospital emergency room and my son was sick, so we had to take him all the way to Oak Ridge," Hughett said.
Hughett drove about 60 miles before his son received medical care.
"You're having to drive an hour and a half, two hours to the hospital. I mean if it was a real emergency, nothing nobody can help you," he said.
Though the hospital remains closed for now, Tibbals aims for the medical center to begin taking patients by Thanksgiving.
"I'll believe it when I see it," Hughett said about the reopening. "I mean you hear so much about if it's going to open or not."
Along with immediate emergency care, Scott County lost more than 200 jobs when the hospital closed in May. This added more than 2 percent to its unemployment rate, keeping it the highest rate in the state.
Officials said when the hospital reopens, most of those jobs will return.