Last June, VCU Health System welcomed a new member to its family, Community Memorial Healthcenter—now known as VCU Community Memorial Hospital. As a result of the merger with the South Hill hospital, the construction of a new facility is in the works.
“We are currently reviewing design proposals for a new hospital and expect to make a final decision very soon,” says Scott Burnette, CEO of VCU Community Memorial Hospital. “The goal is to develop a modern and efficient hospital that will be a source of pride for the region while simultaneously laying the groundwork for a future comprehensive medical complex on the site to even further enhance the entire patient experience.”
VCU Community Memorial serves communities in southern Virginia and northern North Carolina and is licensed for 99 acute care and 161 long-term care beds. VCU will commit a minimum of $75 million toward strategic investments in the new hospital, which is expected to be completed in about three years. The hospital will include a permanent, on-site cardiac catheterization lab. It is currently served by a mobile cath lab that arrives once a week.
“Cardiology will be a big focus of the expansion,” says VCU cardiologist Dr. Bethany Denlinger, medical director of the Echocardiology Lab at VCU Community Memorial Hospital. For 19 years, she has traveled to the South Hill hospital to provide outreach services. Cardiologist Dr. George Vetrovec and electrophysiologist Dr. Jay Koneru have added their support in recent years. VCU plans to hire two new cardiologists for the venture, to start in August.
“They will be primarily South Hill–based cardiologists but will spend one day a week each at VCU,” says Dr. Vetrovec, director of the VCU Adult Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory. In addition to their work at the hospitals, the new doctors will also visit primary care offices in areas outside of South Hill. “For the elderly patients, and those in rural areas, this is a real service.”