‘Together, We’re Better’

VCU Health System, Community Memorial Healthcenter celebrate affiliation

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Representatives of the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System and Community Memorial Healthcenter (CMH) in South Hill, Va., signed an affiliation agreement on Friday to join operations on July 1. With the agreement, which was celebrated at a community ceremony and reception in South Hill, CMH is renamed VCU Community Memorial Hospital and is part of the VCU Health System.

The affiliation will expand the range and depth of health care delivery for residents of Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina. Under the agreement, the VCU Health System will commit a minimum of $75 million in new strategic investments in CMH, including a new hospital facility, health care technologies, clinical initiatives and physician recruitment.

VCU and CMH representatives addressed a crowd of nearly 300 leaders, employees and community members. Virginia Sen. Frank Ruff and Del. Tommy Wright were in the audience and were recognized for supporting efforts to improve health care in the region.

CMH President and CEO Scott Burnette said the affiliation, which comes at a time of great change in the health care environment, followed an intensive two-year study, which ultimately concluded that the VCU Health System was the best partner.

“We believe that VCU Medical Center was a natural choice for CMH as we have enjoyed a productive and positive relationship for several decades, including establishing the first rural oncology clinic in the region over 25 years ago as well as other clinical and educational services,” Burnette said “Our affiliation will bring together two high-performing organizations, combining CMH’s clinical expertise as a community-based hospital with the nationally ranked programs of the VCU Health System.”

The VCU Health System already has a presence at CMH through a partnership with the VCU Massey Cancer Center that provides outpatient medical hematology-oncology and radiation oncology. In addition, the organizations have a rich history of collaboration in providing other clinical and educational services.

"We are proud to join with CMH to advance our mission in southern Virginia with remarkable levels of care and service; world-class physicians, nurses and care providers; and a commitment that every human being who needs leading care from Virginia’s No. 1 hospital can get it – right here at home,” Rao said.  “I am particularly proud to partner with CMH because they share our passion for industry-leading service, medicine, research and a commitment that’s really about people.”

Sheldon Retchin, M.D., senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of the VCU Health System, said the affiliation is about a committed partnership.

“This partnership unifies Community Memorial, the steadfast provider of high-quality health care to the area for over 60 years, and VCU Health System, a leading academic medical center in the nation and one committed to its mission to preserve and restore health for all people, to seek the cause and cure of diseases through innovative research, and to educate those who serve humanity,” Retchin said.

CMH, which has received numerous state and national recognitions for quality patient care and customer service, is licensed for 99 acute care and 161 long-term care beds and provides a wide array of inpatient and outpatient services. It is one of the area’s largest employers with approximately 800 employees and 200 volunteers. Eighty-five physicians representing 30 medical specialties have privileges at CMH. With the affiliation, CMH employees join about 9,000 VCU Health System employees.

John Duval, CEO of MCV Hospitals said the affiliation will only deepen the commitment to serving the community's health care needs.

"There is probably not a life in South Hill or the four surrounding counties that has not been touched in some way by this facility," Duval said

During the celebration, members of the CMH board of directors were honored for their service. There will continue to be a CMH board of directors, with both local and VCU Health System appointments. Under the new structure, leaders from surrounding communities and CMH will continue to represent local interests on governance and strategic planning, and the CMH Foundation will continue to be a vital philanthropic arm of CMH.

Wayne Parrish, chairman of the CMH Board of Directors, acknowledged the hospitals’ proud past and exciting future.

“We all have a great deal of pride in CMH,” Parrish said. “Today, we are ushering in a new era in health care. We are now VCU Community Memorial Hospital and we remain steadfast in our commitment to caring for the needs of the community.”

The Buggs Island Community Band performed before and after the ceremony, which took place at the CMH Education Center.

SOLIC Capital Advisors LLC served as financial advisor to the CMH Board of Directors and McGuire Woods LLP served as outside legal counsel in conjunction with this affiliation process.

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