Sentara seeks support for new medical center

Published 9:55 pm Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Officials from Sentara Obici Hospital hope for broad public support Friday during a public hearing on a request to develop an ambulatory surgery center near Carrollton.

Just weeks before the scheduled opening of Sentara St. Luke’s, the healthcare conglomerate’s 52,000 square-foot outpatient services building, Sentara officials are seeking support for their application to broaden the scope of services planned for the new Isle of Wight location.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at the Smithfield Library, 255 James St. in Smithfield.

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The proposed ambulatory surgery center would comprise an operating room and a procedure room within the new facility, according to a hospital spokesperson and an emailed public hearing announcement.

The center would “complement the advanced imaging, physical therapy, urgent care and physician offices planned for the Sentara St. Luke’s campus,” the announcement stated. “In addition, the operating room would better serve patients who would find the location of an ASC in Isle of Wight County more accessible.”

Portions of the first phase of the St. Luke’s development are expected to open as early as December, according to Sentara spokesperson Gloria Seitz. The facility is expected to be fully operational in January. Part of the 42-acre site will be held for future medical-related development, whose timing will depend on public demand and the economic conditions, according to Seitz.

“We recognize that residents of Isle of Wight County, Smithfield and Windsor need and deserve quality healthcare locally,” said Rosemary Check, administrator at Sentara Obici Hospital.

“This new site at St. Luke’s Village represents a continuation of that long-term commitment. We are pleased to expand our current service offerings at this convenient, new location and deliver the noteworthy healthcare services communities have come to expect from Sentara.”

Sentara Obici Hospital has served Isle of Wight, Smithfield and the surrounding areas since it was founded more than 50 years ago, the company stated in its announcement of the public hearing in support of its application to the Virginia Department of Health for permission to operate the ambulatory surgery center.

More than 44 percent of Isle of Wight’s residents choose Obici for their inpatient care, according to Sentara surveys, and that number could rise along with the county’s population, which is projected to increase nearly 15 percent by 2013.

Sentara officials submitted an application for approval of the ambulatory surgery center in July. A decision is expected in mid-2010.