VCU to reopen hospital

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

In an effort to expand hospital capacity to meet the anticipated surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, VCU Health System is requesting to reopen the former Community Memorial Hospital facility in South Hill.

“We are preparing to save lives,” Michael Reo, the president of VCU Health System said. “The health system has devoted significant resources to quantifying the need for acute inpatient services resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The plan to reopen the hospital, which was closed in late 2017, would add 130 beds designated specifically for COVID-19 patients.

“We are proactively redeploying key staff and facilities to enable the necessary expansion of our clinical care to be as responsive as we can to this public health crisis,” Peter Buckley, M.D., interim CEO of VCU Health System said. “We are proud of the concerted efforts of all our colleagues to prepare our teams and ready up our facilities. We also are grateful to our community and state leadership for enabling these swift and entirely necessary transitions so we are ready to serve our community through this unprecedented public health challenge.”

Expanding hospital capacity has been a key goal for Virginia. In his Monday press conference, Governor Ralph Northam said the state currently has approximately 18,500 hospital beds with 2,000 of those designated for ICU care.

“We know we will need more (beds),” Northam said.

 “Virginia will face a surge in cases that require hospitalization. Our efforts have been focused on running ahead of that surge trying to make sure our hospitals are ready.” 

In addition to reopening the facility in South Hill, VCU is planning to add 150 beds at multiple facilities on the VCU Medical Center’s downtown campus and up to 180 beds at the University’s Monroe Park campus in a dorm facility that once operated as a hospital. 

“The number of cases and the need for hospital care can be reduced if everyone stays at home,” Northam said.