Virginia Department of Health recommends denying proposed Riverside hospital in Smithfield

Posted at 9:53 PM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 21:53:21-04

ISLE OF WIGHT Co., Va. - Staff at the Virginia Department of Health are recommending denying a proposed new hospital to be built in Isle of Wight County.

The 50-bed Riverside Smithfield Hospital would include 10 ICU beds and would be built in the Benns Church area of Smithfield. Riverside Health System announced its intent to apply for a Certificate of Public Need (COPN) in June.

Wednesday, News 3 learned of VDH's recommendation for denying the hospital.A report laid out following reasons for the recommendation:

  1. The proposed project is not consistent with the applicable criteria and standards of the State Medical Facilities Plan and the Eight Required Considerations of the Code of Virginia.
  2. There are less costly and more efficient alternatives to proposed project, including maintenance of the status quo.
  3. The proposed project unnecessarily duplicates existing services already available in surplus in PD 20.
  4. There is a calculated surplus of general purpose operating rooms and medical-surgical

Bill Downey, the CEO of Riverside Health System, offered the following statement:

We are deeply disappointed by the initial recommendation that was communicated Tuesday, Oct. 19, by staff at the Virginia Department of Health to deny the proposed Riverside Smithfield Hospital. Thousands of residents, the leadership and first responders across Isle of Wight and Surry counties made clear their support, both in personal testimony and in written signature, for Riverside Smithfield Hospital.

It is unfortunate that many of the men, women and children in these counties, both of which are federally recognized as Medically Underserved Areas, have inadequate access to quality healthcare services and limited choice in providers.  We remain steadfast in our commitment to support the improvement of access to high quality healthcare and believe there are numerous reasons for the Commissioner to approve Riverside Smithfield Hospital.  We will continue to work with those at the Virginia Department of Health and the Commissioner, who will ultimately make the final decision, to clearly demonstrate the public need for Riverside Smithfield Hospital. We want to thank the many residents, local officials and first-responders who provided such a tremendous outpouring of support.
from Bill Downey, CEO of Riverside Health System

The state health commissioner is expected to make final decision on approval or denial in December.

Related: Neighbors voice support for proposed Isle of Wight County hospital