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U.Va. taking control of Culpeper Hospital

Richard Shannon, the University of Virginia Medical Center’s vice president for health affairs, called it “a natural evolution to prepare us for the changes ahead.”

His statement was made during a Monday news conference announcing that U.Va. will, upon final approval by all parties concerned, become the “majority member” or controlling partner of Culpeper Regional Hospital.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Officials for both groups would not say just how much of a majority stake U.Va. would own or whether it would absorb the whole hospital.

U.Va. has held a 49 percent share in Culpeper Regional Hospital since 2009.

Dr. Thomas Reynolds, chairman of the CRH board of trustees, said the association with the medical center in Charlottesville has been “a very strong partnership” that has brought advanced technology to the Culpeper hospital.

CRH CEO Lee Kirk, who will be retiring this fall, stressed that the move involves only the hospital and not other key aspects of the Culpeper Regional Health System, such as the Powell Wellness Center, the Free Clinic of Culpeper, the CRH Auxiliary and the CRHS Foundation.

Culpeper Regional opened in 1960. Shannon said the anticipated new arrangement would not change CRH’s pledge to be a local hospital.

“A change in ownership does not constitute a change in mission,” Shannon said. “Rather, it advances our vision of providing the right care at the right time at the right place. No matter what the documents say, a community hospital is owned by the community.”

He added that he hopes the enhanced partnership will make health care less expensive for Culpeper area patients and assist U.Va. in both its “clinical and educational aspects.”

Final negotiations between the U.Va. Medical Center Operating Board and the Culpeper Regional Hospital Board are expected to be completed within 180 days.

Donnie Johnston: