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Hearing held on nursing home bed transfer

Halifax Regional Health System’s proposal to relocate 54 nursing home beds from the recently closed South Boston Manor was the subject of a public hearing Tuesday afternoon in town council chambers in South Boston.

Sam Clement, project review analyst with the Virginia Department of Health, conducted the hearing for the two certificate of public needs requests filed by subsidiaries of Halifax Regional Health System.

One Certificate of Public Need Request seeks authorization to relocate/transfer license authority for 36 nursing home beds from South Boston Manor to The Woodview, located in South Boston.

The total capital costs of the move are estimated at approximately $3.78 million and would be funded by existing liquid assets of Halifax Regional Health System.

Another Certificate of Public Need Request seeks authorization to relocate/transfer 18 nursing home beds from South Boston Manor to MeadowView Terrace in Clarksville.

The total capital costs of that move are estimated at approximately $2.75 million and would be funded by existing liquid assets of Halifax Regional Health System. 

Applicant speakers Halifax Regional Hospital Chief Financial Officer Stewart Nelson and Halifax Regional Hospital Director of Long-Term Care Services Connie Zamora presented the two projects followed by comments from the public.

In addition to Nelson, speakers signed up to support the MeadowView Terrace project expansion included Mike Lyon, Gregg Gordon, Charles Simmons, Dr. Jill Allen, Ken Morgan, Joe Davidson, V. J. Springer and Winnie Blanks.

Signed up to speak in favor of The Woodview project were Zamora, Riley Hart, Dr. Jim Priest, Thomas Elliott, Dr. Paul Buckman, Ed Owens, Ted Daniel, Lisa Fulton and Matt Leonard.

The proposed nursing facility bed expansion for both The Woodview and MeadowView Terrace is driven and influenced by the vision of Halifax Regional Health System to be the leader in providing a continuum of quality and cost-effective services that improves the general health of the communities served and by its commitment to serve the needs of the community, Zamora and Nelson explained.

The project goal is to provide “progressive, innovative and compassionate personal care, nursing care, rehabilitation and related services to individuals who are in need of nursing facility services and programming, in an environment and in a manner that will encourage and support optimum quality of care and quality of life, and to provide these services close to the resident’s home where they can be close to family and friends.”

Both expansions at MeadowView Terrace and The Woodview have received approval of the Halifax Regional Health System Board of Directors that is composed of 30 volunteer community leaders as well as government and economic development leaders in Halifax and Mecklenburg counties, the presenters said.

The Woodview has an occupancy rate of 97 percent, while MeadowView Terrace has an occupancy rate of 98 percent for fiscal year 2013. 

Nelson and Zamora pointed out Halifax Regional Health System is fortunate to have the money to invest in the community and to replace the capacity of South Boston Manor and the antiquated two-story facility that was built in 1966.

Also pointed out during the hearing were the job opportunities and secure employment to be provided as a result of The Woodview and MeadowView Terrace expansions.

“The population overall in Planning District 13 is getting older, and nursing home care will continue to be a critical component of the continuum of care,” Nelson said. “The maintenance of the licensed beds in the Planning District is a good strategy for our region.”

However, not everyone supported the relocation of 18 nursing home beds to MeadowView Terrace.

In a letter to State Health Commissioner Dr. Cynthia C. Romero, Community Memorial Healthcenter President W. Scott Burnette opposed the relocation of beds to MeadowView Terrace but not to other facilities in the South Boston market.

Burnette cited decline in the demand for nursing home beds in Mecklenburg County saying, “At the present time Community Memorial Healthcenter (located in South Hill), … has seen a decline in occupancy rates in its long-term care facility and currently has over 40 vacant duly certified intermediate and skilled care beds at The Hundley Center.”

Tuesday’s hearing, a mandate of the Virginia Certificate of Public Need program, requires owners and sponsors of identified medical care facility projects to secure a Certificate of Public Need from the State Health Commissioner prior to initiating projects such as nursing facility services.

Criteria used to determine whether a public need exists include the relationship of the project to the long-term health care state plan; the need for enhanced facilities to serve the population of an area; and the extent to which the project is accessible to all residents in the proposed area.

Halifax Regional Health System announced in March its plans to relocate 54 nursing home beds made available by the closing of South Boston Manor.

South Boston Manor provided public notice on Feb. 22 that the facility would be closing, with all residents safely relocated by April 23.

Halifax Regional has entered into an agreement with intent to purchase South Boston Manor, according to Halifax Regional Health System CEO Chris Lumsden, who added due to the size and age of the facility and the state application requirements for relocating nursing home beds, it would not be feasible for the health system to operate it.