About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star
Spotsy celebrates hospital’s opening
The Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center opened this morning to become the region’s third and the county’s first full-service hospital.
The hospital celebrated its official start with speeches, ribbon-cutting, tree planting and the release of a flock of white doves. It is the 12th acute-care hospital in Virginia for the HCA chain.
The hospital was first conceived five years ago. Construction started in June 2008. “It’s been quite a ride,” said Margaret Lewis, president of HCA’s capital division.
The hospital has been treating patients since May 24, as part of a regulatory requirement that it have 30 inpatient admissions prior to an inspection by the Joint Commission, the agency that accredits the nation’s hospitals. During the two weeks since then, the hospital staff has treated more than 300 people in its emergency room, admitted 70 patients and had 11 surgeries. The number of patients in its beds has been as high as 25.
“We’ve already had a census that’s pretty strong,” said Tim Tobin, chief executive officer of the hospital.
Today, while the opening celebration was underway in front of the building, Dr. Donna Wicker, a local obstetrician/gynecologist, was upstairs preparing for the first of two surgeries she had scheduled. An ambulance crew from the Bowling Green Rescue Squad was unloading a patient at the ER entrance at the rear of the hospital.
Among the guests at the celebration was Dr. Michael Norman, a representative of the Joint Commission, who arrived at 7:45 this morning to begin his four-day inspection.
(For more about the hospital’s opening, see the story in tomorrow’s paper.)