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Sentara, Halifax Regional celebrate merger

South Boston News
Taking part in Tuesday’s celebration of the affiliation between Halifax Regional Health System and Sentara Healthcare were Chris Lumsden, CEO of Halifax Regional, Dave White, chairman of the HRHS board of directors, Robert C. Fort, chairman Sentara board of directors, Dr. Jimmy Priest, president HRH Medical Staff and David L. Bernd, CEO, Sentara Healthcare. (Blakely Swanson photo) / July 17, 2013
Officials with Halifax Regional Health System and Sentara Healthcare gathered Tuesday morning in South Boston to celebrate the formal merger of the two not-for-profit healthcare systems.

The affiliation, which took effect July 1, signifies change and growth for Halifax Regional, said hospital officials, at a time when the previously independent community healthcare provider marks its 60th year of providing patient care to residents in Southern Virginia.

The hospital opened its doors on July 1, 1953 with 50 beds, seven nurses and 12 doctors. Today, the 192-bed hospital and related health system is one of the region’s largest employers, with 1,250 employees. HRHS also operates three long-term care facilities, including Meadowview Terrace in Clarksville, and physicians clinics in Halifax, Mecklenburg and Charlotte counties.

Yesterday’s ceremonial signing event took place at the hospital beneath a banner emblazoned with the motto “Honoring Our Past, Strengthening Our Future,” and included comments from officials in each organization — HRHS, and Norfolk-based Sentara.

To gain the merger, Sentara has pledged to spend $115 million for operating expenses and capital expansion at HRHS.

The signing event also included the reading of a proclamation by Dr. Lucien Roberts, a long standing members of the HRHS medical staff from 1954 to 1991 (when he retired), along with two of his granddaughters, Virginia and Talley Roberts. The reading of the proclamation was meant to symbolize the rich history of Halifax Regional and its bright future with Sentara.

As Dr. Jimmy Priest, head of HRHS’s medical staff, told the crowd assembled for the event, “We are delighted, not just excited and happy we’ve joined such an outstanding organization.”

Following the signing of the proclamation by Dave White, chairman of the HRHS Board of Directors, Chris Lumsden, CEO of HRHS, Robert C. Fort, chairman of Sentara Board of Directors and David L. Bernd, CEO of Sentara, guests were invited to a luncheon in the Leggett Auditorium of the hospital.

Also present for the event was Rick Harrell, the only local person who is now a member of the Sentara Board of Directors where he will serve for the coming three years.

Halifax Regional now becomes the 11th acute care hospital in the organization with seven in the Hampton Roads area, one in Northern Virginia and two in the Blue Ridge region.

In closing Lumsden said, “A huge commitment has been dedicated to ensuring Sentara is the right selection for Halifax Regional, and Sentara has shown its commitment to enhancing the services offered to our community and the region. We are convinced our affiliation with Sentara will be positive and yield long-term benefits to both organizations and to the patients we serve for years to come.”

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