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Pediatric units at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital to close permanently April 1

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 4:36 PM EST
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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - After 26 years in the community, the pediatric units at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital will close in a matter of months.

A statement from HCA Virginia said this was an incredibly difficult decision, but added the increased demand in other medical areas led to this change.

Henrico Doctors’ Hospital will still provide emergency care to the young population, but through the traditional emergency room. If admission is needed to a pediatric unit, that patient would then be transferred to one of the community pediatric units.

“There’s this huge need and now there’s going to be a vacuum where those services were provided before and they’re simply not going to be provided here in the greater west end area,” said Melissa Dart, of Henrico.

According to HCA, the closure of the pediatric units at the hospital will be effective April 1. The move is catching some parents off guard including Dart.

“Stunned by it actually,” she said. “Of all the times to be making a decision like this, during a pandemic, during a surge in a pandemic, I just can’t imagine a less good time to be making that decision.”

A spokeswoman for HCA Virginia said the average daily patients for pediatrics at Henrico Doctors is low and has been low since before the pandemic.

The full statements reads:

Henrico Doctors’ Hospital has proudly provided children’s services to the surrounding communities for over 26 years. During this time, our teams of highly skilled doctors, nurses, respiratory care, and anesthesia providers have built a reputation for quality and compassion to the children and their families.

In evaluating our pediatric inpatient populations, we have recognized that this market is well served and, as a result, these opportunities are less abundant for our team to maintain their highest acuity skills. In addition, it has become clear that we must focus our care teams’ efforts on the increased demand for adult inpatient medical and surgical care, more specifically the women’s health population. For these reasons, we have made the difficult decision to close the Henrico Doctors’ Pediatric and Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) effective April 1st, 2022.

HDH will continue to provide emergency medical care to our pediatric population through our designated emergency room space. Should admission to a pediatric unit or PICU be required, we will ensure a safe and efficient transfer to one of the community pediatric units. For those pediatric patients at HDH, our care team and medical staff will collaborate with the families to identify a comprehensive transition plan.

Henrico Doctors’ Hospital has remained a leader in central Virginia for women’s healthcare achieving a new milestone of more than 4,400 deliveries this year while decreasing newborn complications and undesired caesarean sections. We are proud to have expanded services in the region most recently including inpatient/outpatient behavioral health, eating disorders center, and bariatric surgery.

HCA Virginia and Henrico Doctors’ Hospital remain committed to the region, and together with our sister hospitals – Retreat Hospital, Parham Hospital, Chippenham Hospital, Johnston-Willis Hospital, John Randolph Medical Center, and Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center – we continue to provide a full suite of world-class healthcare options to residents of Central Virginia.

“I think at the end of the day, probably the women’s services is more remunerative (financially beneficial), because that’s just the nature of the beast,” Dart added.

HCA said looking at the pediatric inpatient numbers, the market is well served, especially with resources at Chippenham Hospital.

“If I live in Short Pump or the near west end, I don’t want to go to Chippenham,” Dart said. “That’s just the nature, or maybe it’s unique to Richmond, but north of the river, south of the river.”

For Dart, the location of the pediatric unit at Henrico Doctors’ serves the greater community.

“I’m sure once this gets out… there’s going to be a large outcry about this,” she added.

A spokeswoman for the health system said they will work with its current staff to see what other areas they can transition to at Henrico Doctors’ or what staffing availability looks like at its sister locations.

The closure goes into effect April 1.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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