Patrick County’s old hospital building has new owner

Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 7:04 PM EDT
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STUART, Va. (WDBJ) - Patrick County’s old hospital building has a new owner and a chance at a hospital once again.

According to court records, a Chicago-based company named Foresight HS Property Holdings - Blue Ridge, LLC bought the property this month. The deed to the property was previously held by Patrick County Real Estate, LLC.

Foresight filed with the State Corporation Commission in February, listing Virginia Registered Agent Services, LLC as its Registered Agent with the state.

The address on file for Foresight lists a Chicago address.

The Patrick County Hospital closed in 2017 after filing for bankruptcy in2016, leaving the county without a hospital. The closure meant longer wait times for care.

Patrick County Administrator Geri Hazelwood told WDBJ7 in an email Friday she is very excited about the new owner and that she looked forward to hearing more about what plans they have for Patrick County.

Hazelwood added the introduction of HB 1305 by Delegate Wren Williams, and its subsequent signing into law by Governor Glenn Youngkin, made the building’s purchase attractive for new owners.

That legislation allows the hospital to reopen without having to apply for new certificates of need.

“The COP [Certificate of Public Need] and licensing process in Virginia takes, you know, many months, even years,” said Williams to WDBJ7 in an interview Friday afternoon. “There was a NICU center up in Salem that took several years to get approval. So if we didn’t have my legislation, then it would take a provider much longer to get up and running and therefore profitable.”

A 2020 Patrick County Community Health Assessment and Improvement Plan found what while the Patrick County Family Practice can handle community needs, emergency cases have to travel to Martinsville or Mt. Airy, North Carolina for care.

“Basically we’ve had people die in transit trying to be moved to Mt. Airy or Wake or Martinsville,” Williams said. “And that’s obviously the most extreme or, you know, the biggest problem that we could face. But the other issue we face is the extreme lack of volunteerism or an induction of volunteerism just based on the sheer time it take to run a call.”

Williams said he did not expect a new owner to take over so soon, but believes his legislation “sealed the deal” on a provider, as well as a reduction of a $7 million lien that had been on the property.

He said he’s been concerned the lack of a hospital has affected economic development and real estate, fearing the lack of emergency medical care would lead manufacturers and retirees elsewhere.

The Delegate said he has spoken with the leadership team at Foresight and said they have experience in medical care operations including hospitals, dialysis centers and mental health facilities.

There will be renovation work ahead of the new owners.

In an interview with WDBJ7 in 2020 following the Community Health Assessment and Improvement Plan, Nancy Bell with the West Piedmont Health District said the building was too old and damaged to save.

“The white flag has been waved, dropped on the ground and stomped on,” Bell said, calling it the beginning of the end for the hospital.

“I think we’re going to be looking at a whole new way of delivering healthcare,” she said then.

Williams is hopeful the new owners will bring emergency care, labs and imaging services to the facility as well as creative solutions to attract and retain doctors.

While he can’t speak on behalf of Foresight or provide a timeline for their progress, Williams said he is excited for the possibilities.

“I think staffing is gonna be a problem. We’re in a very rural area. We can find nurses, but we struggle with doctors,” he said. “So I know they’re coming up with creative plans like trying to encourage doctors to shuttle here for, you know, a few turns if you will. But ultimately I think they’re going to move ahead as soon as possible.”

WDBJ7 has attempted to reach Foresight but was unable to locate contact information to get in touch for a statement or interview. Williams and his team said they would help facilitate that communication.

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