JAMESTOWN, Tenn. (WATE) — The University of Tennessee Medical Center is bringing its health care services to Fentress County after four years without a hospital in that area.

The sound of excitement echoes down West Central Avenue in downtown Jamestown as the city welcomes UT Medical’s first stand-alone emergency department.

“There is a lot of excitement about us being here,” Executive VP of UT Medical’s Clinical Operations Dr. James Shamiyeh said. “They had a hospital back in 2019 that closed and the closest place for this type of services about 45 miles away. We know that part of health is having access to care and access really needs to be local if possible.”

Fentress County executive Jimmy Johnson was on hand in today’s celebration and played an integral role in bringing healthcare back to a community he loves. He says it has been a struggle since losing the hospital in 2019.

“It’s been so tough,” Johnson said. “Our ambulance service has been worked to death but we are also so gracious for Cumberland Medical Center in Crossville, we’re so gracious for the Cookeville Regional Hospital in Cookeville because we used them as our emergency room. They were so gracious to let us do that.”

The emergency department has seven exam rooms, a room for X-rays and CT scans as well as a full lab for testing. All of these new resources while keeping in line with UT Medical’s mission.

“We have a real commitment to try to serve the needs of the community. We knew that healthcare access in this rural community and for that matter lots of other rural communities have challenges,” Shamiyeh said. “This is a way for us to extend our mission to serve while increasing the access to care in this area.”

Several U.S. Senators and congressmen were among the crowd today showing the community that their access to healthcare matters to them.

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“They could have been anywhere today in the United States, but they chose to be in Fentress County, population almost 19,000,” Johnson said. “They could have been anywhere they wanted to be. They were here and it will never be forgotten.”

The nearly 40 in attendance even got a chance to take a tour of the facility to check it all out.

The facility is not quite open yet.

The Jamestown community will have to wait until July 11 for the emergency department to open and the primary care facility adjacent to it opens just a few weeks after that.