Suffolk’s growing medical industry

Published 10:01 pm Saturday, August 20, 2011

Providing even more evidence of the growing importance of North Suffolk to the health care community in Hampton Roads, Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System is pushing a plan to open a comprehensive cancer treatment center on its Harbour View campus.

The $10.8-million, 31,000-square-foot center would be located in a new building that would house nearly all of the services needed for treating cancer victims, including radiation services, which would be moved from the Maryview Medical Center in Portsmouth.

The new Suffolk facility would be nearly a one-stop-shop for Bon Secours’ cancer patients on this side of Hampton Roads, and it would take advantage of the fact that many of their doctors already are located in the Harbour View area, officials said. Because of the plan to move services out of Portsmouth, the state will have to approve the center before Bon Secours can move forward with it.

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Bon Secours’ interest in the Suffolk project, however, is proof of the power that North Suffolk wields in the health care marketplace. A casual drive along Harbour View Boulevard confirms the suspicion. Nestled among all of the technology companies, the shopping centers and the manufacturing facilities are a growing number of medical practices, emergency and outpatient care facilities, doctors’ offices and dentists’ offices.

With its location near I-664 and within easy driving distance of most of Hampton Roads, the Harbour View area benefits both from the growing population of Suffolk and from those in other parts of Hampton Roads who have realized how much easier it is to get to Suffolk than to navigate the traffic that chokes the roads in the rest of the area. Those folks are helping to drive the growth of health care here in Suffolk, too.

“We believe that we are better able to care for the patients in a central location,” said Lynne Zultanky, a spokeswoman for Bon Secours. “The majority of the growth is out in that area of the community.”

Suffolk will experience many benefits from decisions such as the one Bon Secours has made. Its residents will enjoy some of the best health care options in Hampton Roads, all without having to leave the city. The city will receive more money in taxes as new companies and medical facilities choose to locate here. And more jobs will be available to those who are qualified to work in the health care field.

Harbour View has come a long way from the fields that once lay there. And the people of Suffolk should be proud of the evolution.