Health Care

East Tennessee State University's College of Pharmacy is centered in this historic building on the Veterans Affairs campus at Mountain Home, which is shares with the VA Medical Center and ETSU's College of Medicine. (Photo courtesy of ETSU)
World-class health care:
Heartbeat of the economy draws retirees, other residents


Washington County has a health care-driven economy, and it shows in the availability and quality of health care available in the region.

With colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Public Health, East Tennessee State University in Johnson City contributes more than its share of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and health professionals both to the local area and nationwide. Those colleges' esteemed programs bring a high level of quality medical and health care to the area, and have a huge impact on the local economy.

It all started in the mid-1970s, when Quillen College of Medicine was established in large part thanks to ETSU's proximity to a Veterans Affairs hospital — in this case, the VA Medical Center at Mountain Home. That strong relationship between the VA and ETSU has continued through the years, with many other ETSU health care programs located on the beautiful VA campus. The VA itself is one of the country's top-notch VA hospitals, with many specialty areas including primary care outreach, which takes place throughout the southern Appalachian region.  

Washington County is also home to the region's largest not-for-profit hospital system, Mountain States Health Alliance. MSHA, with its flagship hospital Johnson City Medical Center (JCMC), had an ongoing impact (not including construction) of more than $1.3 billion to the region's economy in 2010, according to a study from ETSU's College of Business and Technology. MSHA supports more than 11,000 jobs in the region, including nearly 5,000 at JCMC.

Thanks to the medical community that has built up since the Quillen College of Medicine was established in the late 1970s, Washington County has a strong core of primary care doctors, specialists and sub-specialists that have helped make the area an attractive retirement location.