, 2014

Supervisors extend operating hours for
Chesapeake Hospital Corporation parcel

by Audrey Thomasson

LANCASTER—Despite public support for unlimited hours, supervisors again placed limits on the hours of operation under a permit granted to Chesapeake Hospital Corporation (CHC) for the former Family Maternity Center parcel.

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After receiving approval last month to operate 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., CHC, holding company for Rappahannock General Hospital (RGH) and contract purchaser of the abandoned facility, was back before supervisors seeking to extend the hours.

Following a hearing and related discussion, District 2 supervisor Ernest Palin made a motion to alter the hours of operation to 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. The motion allowed for modifications for anyone already receiving treatment and allowed the hospital to come back for further modifications if the hours don’t accommodate future business use of the facility. The measure passed, 5-0.

While RGH president Jim Holmes asked for unlimited hours to accommodate the potential of either a dialysis or urgent care facility, Palin and board chairman Butch Jenkins wanted limits set because the area is zoned residential.

“I’m uneasy with leaving it wide open. I’d be willing to extend two hours on each end,” said Palin.

“I’m willing to expand the hours past 9 p.m.” for patients already in the facility receiving care, “but I’m not willing to expand for a new appointment after 9 p.m.,” said Jenkins.

Ella Davis noted she lives on Route 3 near the facility. “Route 3 is already busy all night,” she said. Davis stressed the need to attract health services to the area instead of residents having to travel to Richmond, however.

“Give them the benefit of the doubt and give them what they need,” said Lloyd Hill of Weems.

“The hospital is one of our greatest assets,” said District 3 supervisor Jason Bellows. “We should do whatever we can to help them.”

George Bott of Lancaster questioned whether a dialysis facility could go on the property. Noting that his wife is a licensed dialysis nurse and he is in the septic system business, he said a dialysis facility cannot be on a septic system.

“Unless they do something with the septic system they won’t get a dialysis center in that place...That’s why they locate in towns,” said Bott.

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