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Community shows strong support for HRHS nursing homes expansion / July 11, 2013
Some 50 people turned out Tuesday afternoon for the advertised public hearing on the requests made by Halifax Regional Health System for certificates of public need which will allow HRHS to add 36 nursing home beds to The Woodview in South Boston and another 18 beds at MeadowView Terrace in Clarksville.

According to Sam Clement, a project review analyst with the Virginia Department of Health who conducted the hearing, Halifax Regional is seeking a transfer of license authority for these 54 beds from South Boston Manor which closed last year in South Boston.

The first application request applies to the addition of 36 beds to The Woodview which estimates the capital cost of the project at $3.8 million, including the value of the assisted living facility space which will be converted to nursing home use.

The second request proposes to add 18 nursing home beds to MeadowView Terrace at an estimated capital cost of approximately $2.75 million.

Connie Zamaro, Director of Long Term Care Services for HRHS, stressed that the new beds in South Boston, which will replace those of South Boston Manor, will be designed as memory support households rather than being the traditional nursing home beds. Twenty will be located in a new 11,500 square foot addition with the other sixteen in existing space at The Seasons of The Woodview. This addition will afford a new opportunity in Halifax County which has previously had no memory support units, but which has had to send its Alzheimers and dementia patients to Meadowview.

Addressing the expansion for South Boston were Tom Elliott, chairman of the South Boston Industrial Development Authority, South Boston Mayor Ed Owens, Matt Leonard, Halifax County Industrial Development Authority Executive Director, Riley Hart, Liza Fulton with the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Paul Buckman, Woodview’s Medical Director and Dr. Jimmy Priest, Chief of Staff at Halifax Regional Hospital.

Each of the speakers expressed strong support for the expansion, pointing to the need for more memory support services and the need to replace the jobs lost by the closure of South Boston Manor.

Dr. Buckman, who has served as the director at The Woodview for many years, stressed that the facility provides excellent care and rehabilitative services and serves as a bridge between hospital and home care in Halifax County where the average census figures show an aging population.

Stewart Nelson, Chief Financial Officer for HRHS, explained the plans for the MeadowView Terrace expansion, noting that the occupancy rate for MeadowView is 98 percent with the facility often operating at 100 percent capacity with all 150 beds occupied with a waiting list.

MeadowView, he noted, is one of only two facilities in Planning District 13 that offers specialized memory support nursing facility services to residents with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The nursing home beds in the memory support households remain 100 percent occupied at all times and the facility receives referrals all across the entire planning district for these services. Nelson said his system gets an average of three to four calls each week from individuals who need this specialized care in a safe, secure environment for family members.

MeadowView Terrace, he explained, has been the recipient of the American Health Care Association’s Step I Quality Award, given to organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to a person-centered mission and commitment to continuous quality improvement processes. It also received the D.A. “Woody” Brown Community Involvement Awards, which acknowledge the outstanding efforts of members to involve, entertain, educate and enrich the residents and their families and the greater community.

Several Clarksville leaders and residents addressed the hearing, all offering strong support for the expansion of MeadowView.

Small business owner Joe Davidson said Clarksville is turning into a retirement community, pointing to the need for nursing home facilities. He also noted that the MeadowView is the largest employer in the community. Funeral home owner Mike Lyon said he regularly hears very positive testimonies from families of patients about the care offered by both the director and the staff at Meadowview, noting that 84 percent of the occupants come from the immediate area.

Ken Morgan, owner of Morgan Lumber Company, also sought support for the expansion, noting the change in the demographics of the community.

Others, including Mary Jo Springer and Winnie Blanks, told of their positive experiences with both HRHS and MeadowView Terrace. Economic Development Coordinator Charlie Simmons and Dr. Jill Allen, along with Greg Gordon, expressed strong support for the 18 bed expansion of MeadowView.

“You not only take care of sick folks,” said Blanks, “but you furnish 160 people with jobs. People have everything they need there — a beauty parlor, whirlpool. It’s like a small town; they have everything except a Dollar General store.”

No one spoke in opposition to the requests although Community Memorial Healthcenter in South Hill has filed a letter with the state Health Department in opposition to the expansion.

Clement said written comment about the proposed expansion should be sent to the Virginia Department of Health at 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 401, Henrico, Virginia 23233 and should be received by July 15. He noted that the division’s recommendations to the State Health Commissioner should be published by Friday, July 19 with a final decision likely in mid-August.

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