SRMC eyes Dinwiddie for new medical facility

By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: March 10, 2019 | 1:45 p.m.

Proposed facility likely to find home near ALDI center off U.S. Route 1

DINWIDDIE – As they continue to expand their medical facilities footprint across the Tri-Cities, Southside Regional Medical Center officials confirm they are looking at what service delivery could look like if they opened a facility in Dinwiddie County.

That information was delivered to supervisors during their regular meeting last month as representatives from Petersburg’s Southside Regional Medical Center came in to give an update on their services and growth over the last year. While no specific details were provided by the hospital, stressing they were in the very preliminary stages of planning, they did say, should a facility of some form come to Dinwiddie, it would likely find its home in the area of U.S. Route 1 and 460 near the ALDI regional headquarters and distribution center.

In 2018, much of the frontage on either side of ALDI Way just off Boydton Plank Road was rezoned to allow for businesses to eventually develop along a corridor that has seen its fair share of growth over the last few years. At the time of the rezoning, a concept for what the area could look like once developed was presented by the landowners, showing a mix of light commercial and retail options, and the possibility of a hotel at the site, which, given its proximity to Interstate 85 and the increase of activity at Virginia Motorsports Park as the NHRA has been hosting national events at the track and tournaments at the Dinwiddie Sports Complex, could find demand throughout the course of the year as sports tourism grows in the county. 

The hospital opened a standalone center in Colonial Heights just off Interstate 95 during the summer of last year, which they have reported has seen steady traffic. (SRMC)

This rezoning could benefit Southside Regional Medical Center as they continue to expand beyond their flagship hospital just off Interstate 95 in Petersburg. In July of 2018, the hospital opened its Southside Emergency Care Center in Colonial Heights in July of 2018, adding to the growth in medical and urgent care facilities near the border of Colonial Heights and Prince George County. The 12,000 square foot facility has 10 exam rooms, diagnostic imaging, and lab services, with the SECC bringing the total number of Southside Regional Medical Center employees to more than 1,480.

In addition, the hospital’s Southside Physicians Network, made up of doctors and medical providers from the Tri-Cities and surrounding areas and counties, to Emporia and Greensville County, leveraging doctors from Southside Regional Medical Center and Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center, continues to grow, as well as SPN opened a new OB/GYN office in Prince George County at The Crossings Shopping Center earlier this year. 

During their presentation last month, supervisors were visibly pleased to hear SRMC was looking to develop in Dinwiddie County, where some residents may have to leave the county to have access to medical services. 

“We are, in fact, looking at developing here in Dinwiddie,” SRMC representatives told county leaders. “I know that there’s been a couple of sites that have been in talks and right now, while there haven’t been any final decisions, we’re looking at the area by ALDI.”

During their board advance strategic planning meeting last month, supervisors have presented data compiled by The Cameron Foundation that looked at dozens of different metrics, including health outcomes, which ranks how healthy a county is, and health factors, which represents the influences on health in a county, including the access to and quality of medical care in a community.

In the area of health outcomes, Dinwiddie was ranked 84th out of 133 total communities, with 133 representing the lowest rank and worth health, according to the data provided to The Cameron Foundation from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the organization who puts out the annual County Health Rankings report. In terms of health factors, the county is ranked 104th out of 133. 

When looking deeper into the county’s health factors rankings from the RWJ Foundation in the areas of clinical care, while the county is essentially in line with the state average for uninsured residents at 11 percent, the ratio between the number primary care physicians and the number of residents is significant. According to the county’s latest rankings, the ratio is 6,960 people for every single primary care physician in Dinwiddie County, which is far above the statewide ratio of 1,320-to-1 and the ratio of the nation’s top performers of 1,030-to-1. 

That ratio is even larger in the area of dental care as, according to the county’s rankings, for every 14,070 residents in Dinwiddie, there is only one dentist, well above the statewide ratio of 1,490-to-1 and the top performers in America at 1,030-to-1.

That data, along with statistics detailing the county’s preventable hospital stays, diabetes monitoring, and mammography screenings, gives Dinwiddie a clinical care ranking of 124 out of 133, with 133 being the worst rank. 

The need to expand the number of primary care physicians in Dinwiddie is nothing new for county officials as the subject has routinely been brought up by supervisors and residents alike, particularly as the county’s northeastern region continues to grow both in population and business. 

Much of the frontage along U.S. Route 1 leading toward the ALDI distribution center has been rezoned to allow for light commercial, which could suit something like a free-standing clinic or emergency room. (Michael Campbell)

While SRMC officials don’t have a concrete picture of what their service delivery model would look like in Dinwiddie County, be it a free-standing emergency room, a primary care center as part of the Southside Physicians Network in a similar vein to their family medicine offices in Chester, Colonial Heights, and Emporia, or something else, they said they are committed to bringing some kind of medical facility to Dinwiddie.

“While we may not have finalized what type of facility that will be, I do anticipate it being some type of intermediate care, whether that is an urgent care facility or a free-standing center,” officials told supervisors last month. 

Dinwiddie County Administrator and SRMC Board of Directors member Kevin Massengill was pleased to hear the hospital is eyeing the county for some form of a medical facility.

“When you look at Dinwiddie County, 507-square-miles with predominately a single physician in the Sutherland area and limited assets here as far as medical in the Dinwiddie area,” he said. “I am encouraged by some of the conversations we have had with Southside Regional Medical Center and looking at some key locations throughout the county to expand, which would also include discussions around the southern portions of the county and the McKenney area.”

Massengill closed, “We are hopeful those conversations will materialize as we move forward.”

When asked, hospital representatives reiterated they remain in the planning stages and no firm details on a location or type of facility have been determined, but that the area near ALDI is among their top picks for a possible facility. 

Copyright 2019 by Womack Publishing
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