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Patrick County hospital owner plans January 2023 opening, later expansion

Patrick County Hospital Update.jpg
Foresight Health
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Foresight Health CEO Sameer Suhail, center, Sean Adkins, director of economic development at Patrick County (left) and Joseph Hylak-Reinholtz, Foresight’s chief operations officer.

The new owner of a shuttered hospital in Patrick County plans a January 2023 opening, with later plans for expansion based on what the community wants.

The facility in Southwest Virginia, near the North Carolina state line, closed in late 2017, forcing residents to travel to Martinsville or Mt. Airy, North Carolina for emergency care.

Foresight Health CEO Sameer Suhail bought the site in Stuart earlier this year, saying his top priority is restoring critical access services. He had hoped to open this December, but regulatory factors, like building code safety issues, pushed back that date by about a month.

Suhail says the next step is to host a series of town halls and get some input for the site’s future–that may include orthopedics, medical education, and a substance abuse program. He also said the hospital’s prior management failed the community.

"I think certain things like that can make the community feel comfortable, and understand that this is not Pioneer (Health) coming back in and trying to run the same hospital that they ran," he said. "But on top of that, we’re not coming back just to open a critical access hospital.”

Suhail says the next step is to host a series of town halls and get some input for the site’s future by expanding in phases. That may include orthopedics, medical education, and a substance abuse program.

“We want to hear what the community needs are,” he said. “And I think after looking at the demographics and what’s really needed – is substance abuse (treatment), behavioral treatment, child psychology, maybe OB (obstetrics) services. It’s better to get that feedback to see what else we can bring to the table."

Suhail also said the hospital’s prior management failed the community.

“I think certain things like that can make the community feel comfortable, and understand that this is not Pioneer coming back in and trying to run the same hospital that they ran," he said. "But on top of that, we’re not coming back just to open a critical access hospital.”

Foresight COO Joseph Hylak-Reinholtz said the residents of Patrick County are cautiously optimistic as the hospital opening date approaches

"We're not a national health care company that has 40 or 50 hospitals," he said. "But we are going to be 100-percent dedicated to making this a success, which is why we're not going to be Pioneer version 2.0. We're going to be offering new service lines that weren't there before."

Foresight is based in Chicago, where Suhail owns at least four companies linked to the city’s Loretto Hospital. It’s been the subject of a vaccination scandal, as well as a series of investigations by the FBI and Illinois Attorney General. Suhail denies all allegations.

“I wasn’t the CEO," he said. "I wasn’t the decision maker in that hospital.. I offered my service lines. I benefitted them. It’s very unfortunate. But my focus here in Virginia, and I’d like to keep it that way.”

Suhail expects to see some Patrick County hospital expansions, like psychiatric services, starting up by late 2023. Meanwhile, Foresight is taking job applications, and has received more than 100 for nursing positions, as well as other roles like maintenance and kitchen staff.

Jeff Bossert is Radio IQ's Morning Edition host.