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Celebrations abound for VCU Community Memorial Hospital

South Boston News
From left to right: John Duval, CEO of MCV Hospitals; Sheldon Retchin, M.D., senior vice president for health sciences at VCU and VCU Health System; Wayne Parrish, Chairman of CMH Board of Directors; CEO Michael Rao, president of VCU and the VCU Health System; Scott Burnette, CMH president/CEO, and John Lee, chairman of the CMH Board of Director’s Steering Committee. See article, page A6. (Photo by Thomas M Kojcsic, University Relations) / July 02, 2014
Community Memorial Healthcenter and the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System in Richmond celebrated their affiliation that became official on July 1 with a ceremonial signing and reception last Friday at CMH. Leaders from both health systems joined board members, employees and community members to celebrate the finalization of the partnership as well as introduce CMH’s new name — VCU Community Memorial Hospital.

Guests enjoyed music from Buggs Island Community Band as they were welcomed to the afternoon ceremony in the Education Center at VCU-CMH. After opening remarks from the hospital President and CEO Scott Burnette, an invocation was given by Reverend Joanne Bedford, hospital chaplain.

Continuing with the ceremony, Burnette recognized a number of special guests in attendance, including Virginia Senator Frank Ruff, Delegate Tommy Wright, the CMH Board of Directors, CMH Foundation Board, members of the CMH Auxiliary and the VCU Health System colleagues who traveled to South Hill for the special occasion.

Burnette reflected on the past 60 years of health care service that CMH has provided to the community.  “A number of you here today were present during the dedication and grand opening of Community Memorial Hospital, and have seen it grow from a 48-bed hospital to the comprehensive hospital that it is today,” Burnette said.

“We are all proud of our legacy,” he said.

Burnette explained how the decision to affiliate with a larger health system was made, and why the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System was the natural choice for CMH.  “The health care environment is in a rapid state of change, and CMH needed to look to the future. Over the past two years, our CMH Board engaged in an extensive, in-depth affiliation study with a goal of identifying a long-term strategic partner that would work with CMH to create a preeminent health care organization for our region,” he said.

CMH and VCU Medical Center have had a positively productive relationship for several decades, such as establishing the first rural oncology clinic in the region over 25 years ago as well as clinical and educational services, Burnette explained. “Our affiliation will bring together two high performing organizations, combining CMH’s clinical expertise as a community based hospital with the nationally-ranked programs of the VCU Health System,” he said.

Burnette recognized the CMH Board Steering Committee who led the affiliation process, including Chairman John Lee of Clarksville; Co-chair, Denny Hardee of South Hill; Tyler Howerton and Jerry Reynolds, both of South Hill, Cindy Pecht of Lawrenceville; Billy Wilkinson of Dundas, Wayne Parrish of Kenbridge, and physicians Dr. David Brown, Dr. Tony Adams, and Dr. David Michie. SOLIC Capital Advisors, LLC served as financial advisor to the CMH Board of Directors and McGuire Woods, LLP served as outside legal counsel in conjunction with this affiliation process.

 Burnette introduced Mr. Wayne Parrish, Chairman of the CMH Board of Directors. Parrish honored CMH ‘s history and recognized the community for continuously supporting the hospital for over the 60 years it had served the region. “Our citizens helped build CMH, and have supported it throughout the years, keeping it the strong hospital it is today. On behalf of the CMH Board of Directors, I want to thank all of you for the many ways you support CMH, making it your medical home, and giving of your time, talent and resources to keep your hospital strong.” Parrish said.

He also recognized the exciting future in store for the hospital and community. “We all have a great deal of pride in CMH. Today, we are ushering in a new era in health care. We are now VCU Community Memorial Hospital, and remain steadfast in our commitment to caring for the needs of our community.”

Parrish introduced Dr. Michael Rao, President of VCU and the VCU Health System, to those gathered.

“We are proud to join with CMH to advance our mission in southern Virginia with remarkable levels of care and service, world-class physicians, nurses, and care providers,” Rao said.

“I am particularly proud to partner with CMH because they share our passion for industry-leading service, medicine, research, and a commitment that’s really about people. Together, we are focusing our resources and talents on helping Virginians live healthy lives so they may contribute to and lead in our Commonwealth, and make a difference in the lives of others,” he said.

Rao introduced Sheldon Retchin, senior vice-president for health sciences and CEO of the VCU Health System, who said the affiliation is really about a committed partnership.

“This partnership unifies Community Memorial — the steadfast provider of high quality health care to the area — and VCU Health System — a leading academic medical center in the nation and one committed to its mission to preserve and restore health for all people, to seek the cause and cure of diseases through innovative research, and to educate those who serve humanity,” Retchin said. 

Retchin introduced John Duval, CEO of MCV Hospitals, who said the affiliation will only deepen the commitment to serving the community’s healthcare needs. “There is probably not a life in South Hill or the four surrounding counties that has not been touched in some way by this facility,” Duval said.

“The affiliation will make a broader range of medical specialists available to the residents of Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina. Residents will have greater access to the full range of advanced health care services offered by VCU Medical Center,” he said.  “By combining resources, VCU Medical Center and CMH can do more to improve the health of the community than either could do independently.

CMH Chief of Medical Staff Dr. Manhal Saleeby and President of MCV Physicians Dr. John Ward explained the many medical benefits both organizations will gain from joining forces. A broader range of medical specialists available to the region, more access to the latest medical advances and clinical trials, and opportunities for professional education and training for CMH and VCU medical staff were just a few of the many benefits that will result from this affiliation. 

John Lee, Chairman of the CMH Board of Directors’ Steering Committee, shared his remarks with the audience. Lee expressed the excitement of the CMH family and community about the union of the two organizations and talked about the many benefits that this affiliation will bring to this region. “We have established a strong partnership that we believe will enhance the quality of life for those working, living, and raising a family in our region .... Because of today, tomorrow brings opportunity for CMH and its stakeholders. The opportunity to expand the range and depth of healthcare delivered to our region ... the opportunity to accomplish all those with a partner that shares, and is committed to, our mission, our culture, our values and our desire to provide the very best in health care,” Lee said.

A special presentation of gifts to the CMH Board of Directors was presented by Mr. John Duval. Following the presentation of gifts, Mr. Jimmie Keith Crowder, a long-time community resident and supporter of CMH gave the benediction. Immediately after the signing of the affiliation documents, guests were invited to enjoy refreshments and music entertainment to celebrate the new affiliation and introduction of VCU Community Memorial Hospital.

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