Hospital Planned for Sentara BelleHarbour Campus in Suffolk
24-bed hospital will serve fast-growing North Suffolk
Sentara Healthcare has filed a Letter of Intent with the Virginia Department of Health for a Certificate of Public Need (COPN) for 24 inpatient beds, two operating rooms and a CT scanner on the campus on Route 17 Bridge Road.
The Sentara BelleHarbour campus has been home to a 24-hour free-standing emergency department and medical office building with a variety of services since 2008. In May 2017, Sentara broke ground on a second medical building. The second building was initially approved by the state to house an ambulatory surgery center (ASC).
This new four-story, 92,000 square foot building will also house the 24 hospital beds, two operating rooms and a CT scanner to serve inpatient needs. The current campus expansion includes a FAA-approved helipad for medical helicopters. The long-term campus plan allows room for a parking deck and additional medical buildings as the community grows in the years ahead.
“We’re meeting current and future needs in Suffolk and the greater Western Tidewater,” says Steve Julian, MD, President of Sentara Obici Hospital, who oversees the Sentara BelleHarbour campus. “This community is growing quickly and we want to put services in place so our patients can receive the care they need close to home.”
A growing percentage of patients seen in the emergency room at Sentara BelleHarbour are transferred by ground and air ambulance to hospitals for further care. This new hospital will allow many of these admitted patients to remain close to home in North Suffolk.
“The acuity level of patients coming to Sentara BelleHarbour is rising,” says Dr. Julian. “It’s safer for them to remain on the campus as an inpatient or observation patient than to go on the road or fly to another hospital.” The hospital plan has been on the drawing board for more than four years.
“We designed the second medical building to be hospital ready,” says Dr. Julian, “and we’re seeing the need right now to provide these services.”
COPN approval is a multi-phase process that includes application reviews and recommendations by staff at the Virginia Department of Health, public hearings and, eventually, a decision by the Commissioner of Health.
“This is a months-long process,” says Dr. Julian. “We hope to win approval of our COPN application by the end of this year so we can move forward with services North Suffolk needs today.”
Sentara BelleHarbour is part of Sentara Obici Hospital, which has served Suffolk and the communities in Western Tidewater since Planters Peanuts founder Amedeo Obici endowed it in memory of his late wife, Louise in 1951. Since Louise Obici Memorial Hospital joined the Sentara family in 2006, Sentara Obici Hospital has celebrated Mr. Obici’s legacy by enhancing services and programs at the hospital and developing Sentara BelleHarbour to meet the health care needs of a growing community.
Sentara BelleHarbour occupies land leased from Temple Beth-El, an African-American congregation espousing tenets of Judaism, founded by a former slave in 1903 and dedicated to the betterment of the community. This is one reason the congregation partnered with Sentara on a long-term lease for the Sentara BelleHarbour campus. The temple’s historic mission, established by its founder, plays out in the Sentara mission to improve health every day.