Jeanette Filpi, CEO of the former Pioneer Community Hospital of Patrick County, has joined Foresight Hospital and Health System as its Director of Development. In this role, Filpi said she will help secure operational items needed for the hospital’s reopening.
“So, it would be from staffing, to regulatory, to working with and alongside the contractors and the architects. There’s a lot that goes into finding how we’re going to do supply management and equipment,” she said.
She is also working with Foresight, which now owns the hospital, to help coordinate the opening of the acute care hospital and its behavioral health unit.
“There’s a lot to be done to get it opened back up,” Filpi said, adding that she hopes to bring back healthcare access to the county.
“Not only bring back the services that were available before closure, but also add services as well,” she said. While services like outpatient surgeries will not be available at the grand opening, Filpi believes Foresight is on the right track to provide all the services the community needs.
Filpi said she thinks Foresight should move towards behavioral health as a focus.
“Once we get the behavioral health beds open, given that the COPN (Certificate of Public Need) is passed, we need to assess on whether or not there is further need and” whether more expansion is needed, “depending on how the 10 beds go,” she said.
Filpi added there could be a need for extended inpatient behavioral health beds throughout Virginia and North Carolina.
Another service that was lost when the hospital closed was outpatient dialysis, she said, adding “there is a need to bring that back as well.”
Filpi said Foresight should also bring in an array of outpatient services, like outpatient testing and treatment, lab services, radiology, infusions, and other services.
“All of those services so that people don’t have to travel great distances to get access to healthcare. I think the bonus on top of that is going to be assisting with behavioral health,” she said.
In assisting with behavioral health, she said Foresight’s goal is to partner with the existing organizations that are meeting the community’s needs to expand access and not take over their roles.
Filpi began working with Pioneer in 2012 when she was recruited as its CEO. She served in this capacity until the corporate office declared bankruptcy in 2017.
“Then, I was ultimately asked from the hospital side to help them close the hospital,” she said.
Filpi was also asked by the county to help get the hospital’s licenses extended in 2017-2018, she said, recalling that “was successful,” with then-Gov. Ralph Northam signing an extension.
Since Pioneer’s closure in 2017, Filpi has been doing interim and consulting work with critical access and rural hospitals in Virginia, Colorado, and Alabama. She estimated she’s worked with about five hospitals with reorganizations, interim CEO work, and board education.
When Foresight bought the hospital property from Virginia Community Capital, Filpi said she was contacted by the company.
“From what I’ve heard, Wren (Williams, who is a Stuart attorney and also serves as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates) had been helping them make contacts and introductions throughout Patrick County once he knew of the interest and they were going to purchase the property.
“They received my contact information from Wren, and Foresight asked me if I would like to come help them get it back open,” Filpi said, adding that she decided to accept the position because she knew first-hand the devastation caused when the hospital closed.
“It was devastating to many families, It was devastating for patients, it certainly didn’t help economic development in the area. It was a very sad, sad time,” she said.
Filpi said the closure was also horrible for the community, particularly given the unanimous support for it to remain open.
“The employees and the leadership team, and the management team,” at the hospital “did everything locally they could possibly do to keep the hospital open. The community and the town council and county supervisors” also gave support “for the hospital and for the employees to keep it open,” she said.
Filpi said it’s rare for a hospital gets a chance to reopen once it shutters.
“Across the county, since around 2017-2018 with the change to some of the reimbursements, there are a lot of casualties of that for rural hospitals and they close,” she said.
She also noted that Virginia is setting an example on how hospitals can be reopened. Filpi said she did some initial work with Lee County and its hospital board on the Lee County Community Hospital, which reopened in mid-2021.
“I think Virginia’s now has become this great example of what can happen when you have bipartisan support, and you’ve got a community behind to try to reopen and save rural hospitals. This will be the second one in Virginia that will reopen,” she said.
Filpi said she is also open to further discussions with Foresight after the hospital is opened.
“There have been no definitive plans. We’ve had initial discussions since I do live in the area, and I will certainly be open to an opportunity to continue to help keep this hospital open and grow tis services,” she said.