New Kent, VCU break ground on new emergency center

Staff writer

Members of the county’s Board of Supervisors, VCU Health representatives and others came together Monday morning to break ground on the VCU Health Emergency Center at New Kent, scheduled to open in Quinton in spring 2020.

Once it opens, the 17,000-square-foot emergency center will offer around-the-clock emergency medical physicians, emergency-trained registered nurses, laboratory services and more, according to a VCU news release. The center also will feature 12 treatment rooms, a helipad for patient transport, along with advanced imaging technology including CT scans, digital X-rays and ultrasounds.

The $16 million project is part of a larger 17.3-acre site at 2495 Pocahontas Trail in Quinton, according to a past Tidewater Review report, leaving room for future expansion.

Dr. Harinder Dhindsa, who serves as chief of emergency medicine and chair of the divisions of emergency medical services and pediatric emergency medicine at VCU Medical Center, said the New Kent emergency center will be equipped to handle emergency conditions including heart attacks, strokes, respiratory illness and pediatrics.

“This facility will allow the residents of this area to receive the full spectrum of emergency care in their neighborhood without necessarily having to travel outside of the region,” Dhindsa said.

VCU Health System representatives and county officials said Monday’s groundbreaking was an important step in a years-long effort to bring a medical center to New Kent County.

State Sen. Thomas K. “Tommy” Norment, who represents the county, was at Monday’s ceremony, and said the project will go far in addressing the need for easy accessibility to health care in New Kent County and the surrounding area.

“When I think about the availability of immediate health care, Williamsburg has two hospitals down there and then there’s several up in Richmond, but we have this void here in New Kent, which was absolutely horrendous in my opinion,” he said. “I would like to say congratulations to Tommy (Tiller) and the other members of the Board of Supervisors who have worked so very hard in getting this.”

New Kent Economic Development Director Matthew Smolnik said the search for a medical center in New Kent County began nearly a decade ago, but county officials first connected with VCU in 2016. The county previously had plans to work with HCA Virginia to build a medical center in the area, but Smolnik said the company backed out of the project.

“As I talk to residents, I always have people say, ‘Hey Matt, I need a Starbucks, I need a Target,’ but what you really need is advanced health care,” he said. “We have a list of wants and a list of needs, and this takes care of a need.”

New Kent County Fire Chief Rick Opett said the addition of the medical center in New Kent also will reduce the average amount of time that it takes for ambulances to transport patients in emergency situations by at least 30 minutes.

“This significant turning point for more rural areas of Greater Richmond’s eastern boundary will provide the public with state-of-the-art and quality patient care,” he said.

Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.

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