Where will the hospital be located in the future?
The Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital (RSMH) Board of Directors voted to move all inpatient beds, and the services that directly support inpatient-specific care, to an area north of the hospital's current location. The site has not yet been determined, but we anticipate it will be somewhere in the Keller-to-Parksley area of Accomack County.
When will you let us know where the hospital will be?
More due diligence, including several areas of research, is needed before a final decision is reached. We will have increasingly definite information in the coming months.
How long will it be until the new hospital is open for business?
We expect to have a new hospital ready for patients within the next five years, but it may realistically take a bit longer. RSMH must apply to Virginia for permission to build through the Commonwealth's Certificate of Public Need process. Because Riverside is already planning to build a new hospital in Williamsburg, we will save some time and expense by adapting those plans to fit the needs of the Shore. There will also be some economies in design, construction and equipment costs by building two similar hospitals in quick succession.
What does it mean that there will be a continued significant presence in Northampton County?
Today's consumer expects an extensive array of outpatient services. Increasingly, the norm has moved from the inpatient realm to ambulatory care sites. Therefore, we are by no means abandoning Northampton County. We will continue to provide meaningful, high-volume services there such as Radiology and Lab. Indeed, before the end of this year alone, we will have invested more than $3 million in improving equipment and renovating facilities at the Nassawadox site.
We also anticipate providing "express care" with extended hours. Express care is a version of "urgent care" and is appropriate for health issues that do not pose an immediate risk to life or a lasting risk to one's health. Currently 41% of the cases we have seen in our Emergency Department from January through June of this year were considered "non-emergent" and would be most appropriately treated in this type of express care setting.
What were the considerations in the decision to move the inpatient hospital facility to a new location?
Renovation of our current facility would be prohibitively expensive and would significantly disturb patient care for an extended period. The Board felt a whole-hospital replacement would better serve the community. Numerous factors were involved in the decision-making process including demographics (age, population distribution, etc.), employers, physician issues, and growth trends to name a few. The combination of all of these led to the decision to relocate the focal point of inpatient care.