Rappahannock General Hospital is in full swing with its first-ever major fundraising campaign to build a new emergency department.
Without Rappahannock General Hospital (RGH) in Kilmarnock, residents needing emergency care or advanced diagnostics would have to drive as much as an hour and a half to Gloucester, Tappahannock, or Richmond for treatment because it is the only facility with these services within a 40-mile radius.
It’s a part of our history in the Northern Neck and at Chesapeake Bank
The emergency department – and the hospital in general – is important to the Northern Neck for its medical services and also because it represents an improvement in the life of the community.
Our former CEO, Doug Monroe, says that after a year-and-a-half of coming here, to Chesapeake, he was convinced there weren’t enough commercial businesses in Lancaster County to sustain the bank. “At that time, due to bank laws, we were unable to merge or expand outside the county,” says Doug.
Over the next few years Doug worked to get bank laws changed that allowed us to open a branch 15 miles outside of Lancaster (and later statewide).
He also worked with others in the community to increase the payroll of employees in the county. “We realized that our greatest capacity to make a difference was by working with the non-profits that also hired employees,” says Doug. “We could serve on the board of directors and influence those organizations.”
The hospital was one of the non-profits included in that initiative in 1977. Collectively more than 1,000 jobs exist because of those early efforts. RGH alone employs 300.
“With the additional economic activity, we were able to add services at the bank and in the community,” says Doug. “Many people don’t realize that it’s often a community bank, such as Chesapeake, behind these local efforts.”
Who it serves
Jimmie Carter, a regional consultant to the Rappahannock General Hospital Foundation says a Pew Institute Research Center report, based on 2014 Census data, revealed that Lancaster was the fifth, and Northumberland the eighth, most elderly populated counties in the U.S. “This means our hospital could be the most elderly serving hospital in America,” says Jimmie. “Having quality healthcare makes a profound impact on retirees and people moving to this area.”
Most recently, on behalf of the hospital, Jimmie also worked with the Virginia Department of Health to establish a COVID vaccination center. “We gave 5,000 shots,” says Jimmie. “Being able to do this is a testament to our community, the hospital, and the outpouring of volunteers. It took everyone jumping in to provide for the clinic, parking, data entry, and everything needed to make it happen.”
While the hospital has raised money before, this is the first time in the hospital’s 44-year history that it has launched a substantial campaign.
The Bon Secours Foundation has a goal of raising 15 million dollars centered around a much-needed new emergency department. “Another testimony to the importance of RGH in our community is that a substantial portion has already been raised by two major bequests, which are two of the largest gifts ever given Bon Secours by their smallest hospital,” says Jimmie.
A change in status: Bon Secours
This is impressive accomplishment when you realize prior to merging with Bon Secours six years ago there was real concern the hospital might close.
At that time, Jimmie was on the hospital board. He understood the hospital’s significance to the medical and economic health of the community and knew it would need the right partner to keep it open. He worked to negotiate the sale of the hospital to Bon Secours in 2014. “Now looking back six years, I am confident that merging with Bon Secours was the right decision,” Jimmie says. “We have succeeded in providing for our dedicated staff, retained and grown services, made major investments in new equipment, and have the security of knowing the hospital has a secured future.”
Construction on the expansion started in April and completion is expected by spring 2023. Make your donation on the foundation website to help improve lives and the health of the community.
Email Jimmie with questions about the foundation.