The new owner of the hospital in Patrick County plans to open the emergency department by the end of the year.
Sean Adkins, the county’s economic development director, recently returned from Chicago, Ill., after spending two days in meetings with the new hospital owners, Foresight HS Property Holdings – Blue Ridge LLC.
The trip was at the company’s behest, Adkins said, and explained that the company paid his travel, accommodations and related expenses.
While in Chicago, Adkins said he learned there is a general timeline that includes three phases.
The first phase is opening the emergency department, Adkins said.
“It’s exciting. I didn’t know they’d be ready to open this emergency room by the end of the year,” he said.
Because he signed nondisclosure agreements with the company, Adkins declined to discuss other specifics including details or a timeline for the second and third phases.
The new owner, Dr. Sameer Khader Suhail, M.D. in emailed responses wrote, “we plan to reopen the property as a Critical Access Hospital, however our plan is also to offer a broad range of healthcare services. It is our priority to invest in this community in a meaningful way by bringing high quality healthcare services. To do that, we believe the first step is engaging the people in Patrick County, Southside, and Southwest Virginia and learning what it is that they need and want.”
Suhail added that he has “always prioritized ethics and have always acted above board. We’re excited for this opportunity in Patrick County, and we plan to create an ethics advisory board that will be comprised of local decisionmakers and stakeholders and will report to the main hospital board.”
He declined to discuss details of other specific phases, but Suhail said “our goal is to have a high quality healthcare facility with additional expanded services opened this year. Our plans are in development now and we are currently focused on finding ways to listen to the Southside and Southwest Virginia communities to understand their needs and wants here and developing our plans based on those conversations.”
He briefly offered a bird’s eye view of the steps that will be involved in reopening the shuttered hospital.
“There are a number of steps involved in this process, but we are feeling already the support and enthusiasm of the local community and of local officials, so we are confident that we will be able to move forward quickly, efficiently, and effectively,” Suhail said. “As I mentioned before, the first step is understanding what the community needs and wants and figuring out how to meet those needs. That is what we are focused on now.”
The company announced its purchase of the hospital in April, days after Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed a hospital bill by Del. Wren Williams, R-Stuart, into law. The legislation restored licenses lost when the facility closed in 2017.
Williams said he first learned about the company’s interest in the local hospital after the company contacted him in February.
Suhail said his company’s mission “to identify communities that are in need of healthcare facilities and services, and then remedy that” prompted his interest in the local facility.
“We saw immediately the need and desirability of a healthcare facility and services here in Stuart and recognized this as an exciting opportunity to do what we do best,” he said. “In our conversations with the people of Southside and Southwest Virginia, we have found a warm and welcoming community and are excited to become good neighbors here.”
While Suhail is the sole owner, he said “opportunities to bring in additional investors in ways that make sense for the hospital” would be welcome. “We have a terrific leadership team and are currently working to expand this team with local healthcare leaders that have extensive experience in providing healthcare services in rural environments.”
Suhail holds a medical doctor (M.D.) degree from El Hadji Ibrahima Niasse University Dakar, Senegal, St. Christopher’s College of Medicine, and has worked with a diverse portfolio of healthcare businesses.
Dr. Suhail is passionate about access to healthcare, ensuring everybody, no matter where they live or their socioeconomic condition, has equal access to high-quality healthcare services. Through his business ventures, he’s worked with safety net hospitals to bring state of the art medical services to underserved communities.
His bio adds that “from a young age, Dr. Suhail recognized there was a difference in healthcare delivery models. Raised in a modest neighborhood, he witnessed first-hand how higher-income communities had better services than others. Dr. Suhail’s core mission is simple, “to provide the most cost effective, quality healthcare training programs, healthcare services, and readily accessible treatment options for communities in need.”