Health care draws population boom in Harbour View

Published 6:37 pm Saturday, December 10, 2016

Two medical center heavyweights have served the growing North Suffolk area for more than 15 years, gradually increasing their footprints and services as more and more people move into the area.

Bon Secours and Sentara were at the forefront of the massive development in and around Harbour View.

“We’re right at the nexus of various different highways,” said Michael Kerner, chief executive officer of the Bon Secours Hampton Roads branch.

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Sentara has had subsidiary offices along Bridge Road since the 1980s, according to Dr. Steve Julian, president at Sentara Obici Hospital. However, Bon Secours was the first to establish a campus in the area.

Dr. Steve Julian, president at Sentara Obici Hospital, stands by the Sentara BelleHarbour campus.

Dr. Steve Julian, president at Sentara Obici Hospital, stands by the Sentara BelleHarbour campus.

The Bon Secours Harbour View campus, which sits on nearly 25 acres of land, was established in May 1999, according to Kerner. The campus includes emergency care, a women’s center, radiology, colorectal, physical therapy and weight loss services.

“Since we are a faith-based ministry, we provide care for the mind, body and soul,” said Lynne Zultanky, Bon Secours administrative director of marketing and public relations. “We believe strongly that’s part of the healing process.”

This fall, the campus added a cancer center, which offers in-house treatment and chemotherapy infusion services.

The hospital’s administration noticed a trend of senior residents moving to the area, so they felt it was necessary to build a campus in the area, according to Kerner.

Kevin Hughes, the city’s economic development director, said Bon Secours was one of the first organizations to buy into the vision for Harbour View.

“They bought in and saw the vision,” Hughes said. “They were an early believer.”

Nearly a decade later, Sentara also increased its presence in the area and established its 75,000-square-foot BelleHarbour care center in 2008.

“We’ve increased the robustness of our services to service our citizens,” Julian said.

BelleHarbour provides mammography, emergency, physical therapy and sleep services, among others.

Sentara and Bon Secours are the third and 15th largest employers in the city at 1,300 and 269, respectively. Sentara, many of whose employees work at Obici, comes in third behind the Navy Information Dominance Forces and Suffolk Public Schools.

Over the years, both care providers have earned multiple prestigious recognitions.

U.S. News and World Report ranked the Sentara Norfolk General Heart Hospital as the best hospital in the Hampton Roads area, tied with the VCU Medical Center as the second-best hospital in the commonwealth. Additionally, the heart hospital is No. 24 in the nation, improving from No. 31 last year.

In addition to various regional and national recognitions for its Hampton Roads care centers, the Bon Secours Harbour View campus also received a prestigious national stroke certification. The Harbour View facility is the first freestanding emergency department in the commonwealth and the sixth in the nation to achieve the recognition, according to a press release.

Within the next few years, the Bon Secours Harbour View campus hopes to expand its primary and outpatient care services. In the long term, the provider plans to collaborate with other health systems in the community to create clinically integrated networks.

These networks will work together to provide services and manage health care, Kerner said. Kerner hopes this will eliminate the duplication of health care services.

“You want to collaborate so you don’t duplicate services,” Zultanky said. “There is a better quality of work if we work together.”

By the fall of 2018, the BelleHarbour campus will add a four-story building, a helipad and additional parking spaces.

The new building, spanning 85,000 square feet, will total more than $34 million, according to Julian. The facility will feature emergency room and laboratory services, an ambulatory surgery center and other medical services and additional medical office space.

Within the next 50 years, Julian said there are plans to add a 40,000-square-foot building behind the current BelleHarbour center, another four-to-five story building to the right of the care center and a pharmacy center by the site’s entrance. Julian added there would most likely be a parking garage built in the back corner of the site to accommodate the expected increase in traffic.

“This will be the first to have all of these abilities in one location in Tidewater,” Julian said. “We are very excited for what it will provide for citizens.”