ONEIDA (WATE) - Scott County's only hospital reopened Monday morning after being closed for a year and a half.
The hospital closed down in May 2012 after the end of an agreement with the previous operator.
Beginning at 8 a.m., the hospital resumed emergency, lab, surgery and radiology services, but the hospital discontinued its obstetrics services in order to open up sooner.
The Pioneer Community Hospital got an emergency certificate of need from the state last month after a plea from county leaders.
"Highs and lows and ups and downs," said Steve Leeds.
That's how the long time hospital worker described the last 18 months. Leeds' father helped found the hospital and he has spent the last several decades serving as its pharmacist.
"I'm feeling a sense of happiness, gratitude and thankfulness that Pioneer has come here to take over the hospital and open it," said Leeds. "It's been 18 months since the hospital closed, and that's 18 months that this county has been without vitally needed healthcare.
Leeds is one of about 25 former employees whom Pioneer hired to work at the hospital. They are the ones CEO Tony Taylor credits for the quick opening.
"There was a core of about 15 to 20 staff members including nurses and dietary that helped clean and paint and got the building ready for this opening," said Taylor.
Taylor hopes to bring back several more as other services are added.
For now, the focus is simply on bringing emergency health care back the people of Scott County.
"It's a major assurance for the people of Scott County, now that if there is an emergency care situation or an acute care situation, there is a hospital to come to," said Scott County Mayor Jeff Tibbals.
Once up and running, they will reevaluate the services offered and perhaps even add more.
Another meeting will be held in Nashville on December 18 to see if obstetrics services will return to the hospital.