STUART, VA—Following months of speculation, Patrick County officials recently learned that its former hospital in Stuart will not reopen as planned. The County had received assurances that Foresight Health group, which purchased the facility in 2022, would be remodeling and reopening the facility by December 2023.
No reason was given by Foresight for the change of plans.
“We are disappointed that the promises made to Patrick County leaders and citizens by this company will not be fulfilled,” said Patrick County Board of Supervisors Chairman Brandon Simmons. Simmons said speculation that the hospital would not reopen at all had been circulating for months.
Simmons said “There is not currently any additional information to share about the future use of the property located at 18688 Jeb Stuart Highway.”
Like many rural communities who lose their hospitals, Patrick County’s Pioneer Hospital closed in 2017. Health care access was the top identified need in a 2019 community health needs assessment and improvement plan led by the Virginia Department of Health (West Piedmont district).
Simmons said a Healthcare Access Committee was formed immediately after receiving confirmation that Foresight was not proceeding with its planned renovation and reopening.
Beth Simms, Patrick County’s Administrator only since October 2023, said the goal of the committee is to provide leaders and stakeholders with the ability to collectively approach legitimate health care providers about what healthcare services are feasible in Patrick County. Mobile integrated healthcare solutions already are being developed in the county, she said. The model uses medical mobile units to deliver healthcare out into the community.
Supporting these efforts is the existing Healthy Patrick County, a coalition of healthcare, educational and economic development resources, and individuals who in December concluded a new health needs analysis in Patrick County.
Healthy Patrick County once again has identified access to healthcare as the top concern and is studying best practices to address the access issue.
“Now that we have confirmation that Foresight will not be opening a hospital in Patrick County, we can seek partnerships with other healthcare providers and look at home grown solutions,” Simmons said.