General Assembly to consider license proposals

Legislators are expected to vote early next week on sister proposals to extend the local hospital’s Acute Care License.

State Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Moneta, said his proposal, now Senate Bill 866, will head for a vote on the Senate floor on Tuesday. Stanley re-filed the proposal after passage stalled earlier this week in what he said was a politically motivated vote.

“This is not a political issue, but a human issue” Stanley said Thursday, after the re-filed measure cleared the first hurdle by passing the Education and Health Committee with a majority vote.

The initial proposal also was reported out of that same committee with a majority vote.

It later faltered in what Stanley said was an attempt by Democrats to secure votes needed for a Medicaid expansion.

“They put politics over principle” when voting against that measure, Stanley said. “Every senator that voted against the bill had a flood of calls” from Patrick County, Stanley said he understood.

Gov. Ralph Northam “thinks the bill is a good bill,” Stanley said. Northam “tried to intercede on our behalf” by encouraging his party to support it. “I know Ralph supports this. He understands how important it is, and I appreciate his help and his friendship.”

Even with defeat of the initial bill, Stanley said the situation “has had a positive effect” by helping to shine the light on Patrick County and demonstrate the area’s needs.

Stanley said he has had conversations with entities who may be interested in operating the hospital.

“I have had people reach out to me” after learning about the dire situation here, he said. Stanley declined to discuss specifics of those conversations.

“Right now, we’re just in the initial talks and negotiations are ongoing,” he said, but overall, “the support from the people in Richmond” has been overwhelming.

Legislators in the House also are set to consider the proposal on Monday, Will Pace, Del. Charles Poindexter’s legislative assistant, said of House Bill (HB) 175.

Pace said no one spoke about the proposal is part of a block of bills to be considered.

Filed by Poindexter, R-Glade Hill, Pace noted no opposition was expressed during earlier votes.

“So far, so good,” he said.

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