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State Health Commissioner Approves Chesapeake Regional’s Open-Heart Surgery Program 

January 9, 2023

CHESAPEAKE, Va. –  State Health Commissioner, Dr. Colin Greene, has approved Chesapeake Regional Medical Center’s Certificate of Public Need (COPN) application to introduce open-heart surgery at the hospital. This decision comes after a favorable recommendation by the Division of COPN staff in November, and over five years after the hospital’s initial request. 

Chesapeake Regional Medical Center has earned numerous accolades and accreditations for its existing interventional cardiology program. It has the region’s best heart attack survival rate and it is better than the 90th percentile among hospitals nationally.

“This project is a necessary and logical expansion of the current cardiac offerings at Chesapeake Regional,” said Reese Jackson, President & CEO of Chesapeake Regional Healthcare. “We are making this commitment so that residents of southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina will have better access to life saving services closer to their homes and workplaces. With the inclusion of open-heart surgery, patients will not have to shuttle between providers or facilities to receive all necessary care. It will ensure patients can get timely treatment. The community has supported our efforts to secure an open-heart surgery program for quite some time. We are incredibly pleased with the Commissioner’s decision and look forward to building a robust program to benefit area residents.” 

Virginia law requires that hospitals gain approval from the state to offer certain health care services. This approval is known as a Certificate of Public Need (COPN). The original application was contested, and this past May, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled that the former State Health Commissioner erred in his denial of Chesapeake Regional Medical Center’s initial application. That ruling gave Chesapeake Regional another opportunity to seek an open heart COPN, which has been approved today by the new Commissioner.  

The Commissioner’s approval includes an assertion that Chesapeake Regional’s open-heart program will inject beneficial competition in a highly concentrated open-heart surgery market, improving patient choice and reducing health care costs without significantly reducing the existing open-heart surgery volumes of other hospital programs in the planning district. 

Installation of equipment and the recruitment of surgeons and staff will begin immediately. The hospital anticipates performing cardiac surgeries in early 2024. 

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A press conference being held in the lobby of Chesapeake Regional Medical Center.