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Area EMS volunteers gather at the new VCU-CMH facility to assist with the move of patients from the Buena Vista Circle facility. The first patient is wheeled through the door. / November 15, 2017
It took less than four hours Saturday for staff at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital and EMS crews to move nearly 30 patients across town to the hospital’s new facility in South Hill at the intersection of Route 1 and Highway 138.

Speaking Monday after the move, hospital CEO Scott Burnette said there were a lot of misty eyes among of the staff, many of whom had worked at the facility on Buena Vista Circle for their entire careers.

“The move went as smoothly as we had hoped. I am proud of our team. We put an enormous amount of effort into this plan and that investment has paid dividends,” said Burnette.

He expressed his thanks to the seven rescue squads — Boydton Life Saving Crew, Chase City Rescue, Alberta Fire, Victoria Rescue, Kenbridge Rescue, Greensville County Rescue, Lifestar, Southside and Central Rescue — that provided 11 ambulances and crews necessary to transport patients the two miles to the new hospital.

“We also could not have accomplished what we accomplished today without the support of all the rescue squads here moving patients, the South Hill Police Department, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, the South Hill Fire Department and the VCU Police Department,” said Burnette in a statement issued Saturday as the move was being completed.

“As of 10:42 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 11, we moved all 28 patients who were in the old VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital. We can also announce that we have received our first patients in the Emergency Department at the new hospital,” said Ken Kurz, director of marketing and development at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital and public information officer for the hospital.

The new hospital, according to Kurz , saw its first Emergency Department patients Saturday morning before 10 a.m. “We’re hoping that everyone knows that the new hospital and the Emergency Department is now open and they will go to the new VCU Health CMH at 1755 North Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill,” he said.

“We ushered in a new era of health care today with this patient move. It’s a culmination of years of hard work by the CMH board, our partners with VCU Health and, of course, our staff and volunteers. There were more than a few misty eyes when we announced at 10:42 that the old CMH was officially closed. A lot of fantastic work was done over the past 63 years inside those walls,” Burnette said.

Signage has gone up at the old VCU Health CMH indicating the hospital is closed.

Burnette also praised the staff for their preparations for the move: “The move went flawlessly thanks to the extensive planning on the part of the patient transition committee. To successfully move or discharge 30 patients in less than four hours was phenomenal! We met all objectives for the move with ease,” he said in the prepared statement. “I cannot adequately express to you all how proud I am of the stupendous team of healthcare professionals you all have proven yourselves to be. Very few CEOs have the privilege of working with such a great group of people and I am honored to serve in that role at CMH.”

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