About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star
Opening of Spotsylvania hospital was top health story of 2010
The top health stories of 2010 reflect a common theme: an expansion in the area’s health services. The growth includes another new hospital, the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, and many other new services.
From my perch, the opening of the region’s third acute-care hospital was the leading local health story for 2010. Like Stafford Hospital last year, Spotsylvania Regional’s opening brought new options for local residents, to say nothing of the hundreds of jobs and dozens of new doctors. In addition, many of the region’s established physician practices added doctors so they could cover another hospital.
Unlike Stafford, however, Spotsylvania Regional also brought a second hospital company, HCA, to the area to challenge Mary Washington Healthcare. For more than 100 years, Fredericksburg was a one-hospital town. Now everything has changed.
But the new hospital was only one of the growth stories for 2010. Others included:
* The opening of an imaging center for women near Mary Washington Hospital, a nursing home in Stafford and urgent care centers in Fredericksburg and Stafford.
* The approval by the state Health Department of new cancer centers at Stafford Hospital and Mary Washington and the start of construction for the Fredericksburg one. Construction also started on a new outpatient surgery center in the city to replace the Surgi-Center of Central Virginia in Stafford.
* The state Health Department gave its blessing to an expanded nursery at Stafford Hospital, new radiation therapy and lithotripsy services at Spotsylvania Regional, and an advanced radiation therapy program at Mary Washington.
* Germanna Community College looked at these developments, and at the number of qualified applicants that it was turning away each year, and doubled the size of its nursing program. Soon it will graduate 160 new nurses each year.