To the Eastern Shore Community

I want to take this opportunity to clarify information about the certificate of public need to move Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital to Accomack County.

First of all, Northampton County has a responsibility to its citizens to plan and provide for necessary services and we respect their position. However, Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital has a responsibility for providing health care services to the entire Eastern Shore. We believe our plan for the Eastern Shore will serve the health needs of all residents of Accomack and Northampton by locating healthcare services in areas providing access to a larger number of citizens.

The following is a time line of events and description of what has transpired related to the COPN to move the hospital.

On April 26, 2011, the Northampton County Board of Supervisors (the "Board") petitioned the Virginia State Health Commissioner (the "Commissioner") to establish itself as a party showing good cause in the Certificate of Public Need ("COPN") application process that was initiated by Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital's ("RSMH") COPN application to build a brand new state of the art hospital in the County of Accomack, Virginia.

On July 18, 2011, the Commissioner denied the Board's petition to show good cause. The Commissioner found that the Board failed to show good cause by establishing that there was a substantial material mistake of fact or law in the Virginia Department of Health's Division of Certificate of Public Need staff's report or in RSMH's COPN application. Based upon this determination by the Commissioner, the Board was not a party to the proceedings involving RSMH's COPN application.

On August 9, 2011, The Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health approved the relocation of Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital (RSMH) to a site immediately behind Four Corners Plaza in Accomack County.

The Board has appealed the Commissioner's determination related to their good cause standing in the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond. To be clear – the Board's appeal is not an appeal of the Commissioner's COPN decision which permits RSMH to build a new hospital but is limited only to the Board's good cause standing status.

Both the Commissioner, through the Office of the Virginia Attorney General, and RSMH filed a Motion to Dismiss the Board's appeal under the belief that the Board's appeal (i) failed to articulate an appealable issue, (ii) the Commissioner acted properly in issuing the good cause party denial, and (iii) the Commissioner's good cause party decision was compliant with the applicable rules, statues and legislation.

On January 5, 2012, a hearing was held in the Richmond Circuit Court to hear oral arguments on the Motion to Dismiss. The Honorable Beverly W. Snukals denied the Motion to Dismiss filed by the Commissioner and RSMH and opted to allow the parties an opportunity to fully brief the issues and provide for additional oral arguments.

The next step in the process is for the parties to submit briefs and make oral arguments related to the actual substance of the Board's appeal for good cause standing status to the court on April 25, 2012.

Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital is excited that the Commissioner granted a COPN to build a new state of the art hospital in Accomack County and we are diligently moving forward with efforts to begin construction on the hospital that will serve the healthcare needs of all of the citizens of the Eastern Shore of Virginia for decades to come.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the COPN process or want to talk about any aspects of Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital.

Joe Zager
Administrator Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital
(757) 414-8765
Joe.Zager@rivhs.com


 

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