Letter to the Editor - Eric Deaton
November 08, 2012
Letter to the Editor
In response to Supervisor Marshall Ecker's wife, Ann Ecker, charging that some locally elected officials have not asked the state government to support the planned emergency center in Gretna, I would like to offer clarity. First and foremost, the entire Board of Supervisors passed a unanimous resolution supporting Danville Regional’s project in Chatham and Centra’s project in Gretna at its regularly scheduled meeting on September 18, 2012. This action taken by the Board supports projects for our entire county.
It is important to note that the Virginia Department of Health does not need to grant a certificate of public need in order for Centra Health to build a free‐standing emergency department in Gretna. If Centra wants to build such a facility, it can do so as long as the project is zoned locally.
Centra has instead asked for additional revenue generating equipment that needs state approval in addition to the clinic it proposes to build. This additional equipment may serve to increase the cost of healthcare in the area without necessarily increasing the quality of care. Most people needing this type of additional equipment will need to go to Lynchburg General, Danville Regional, Franklin Memorial or Halifax Regional anyway. In addition, people experiencing serious health conditions such as a heart attack or stroke should go directly to a full‐service hospital (like Danville Regional or Lynchburg General).
Requesting board members to sign individual requests, choosing one project over the other, does not support our county as a whole; nor does it support the healthcare needs of all Pittsylvania County residents. At most, this type of request will provide lines of division that will only serve to weaken our healthcare delivery system.
When citizens cast their votes for elected officials, they are hoping that those elected will do the best job in serving the interests of all community members. I feel the action taken by Supervisors Barber, Harville and Snead, as well as that of the entire Board in supporting both projects, does not divide the county, but supports the healthcare needs of all Pittsylvania County residents.
Chief Executive Officer
Danville Regional Medical Center