Chesapeake Regional Medical Center hopes for open-heart surgery program


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — If you’re sick or need surgery, you don’t want to wait or travel out of town to get help.

That’s why Chesapeake Regional Medical Center wants to expand its cardiology program — but they can’t do it without state approval first. They must prove there is a need in the community.

In an effort to help demonstrate the need, the hospital sent out 250,000 mailers asking people to fill them out and return a note to the state health commissioner.

Scott Kern filled one out. He may be Chesapeake Regional Medical Center’s biggest fan.

“Yes, this hospital and everyone here saved my life,” he told

Kern suffered a major heart attack and spent more than a month in the intensive care unit. Then, he was told he had to go to another hospital for cardiac rehab.

“The transfer process, moving from one facility to another, I cannot say enough bad things about that,” he said.

He was stressed out, to say the least. Still connected to machines, he felt he couldn’t breathe for the entire ride from Chesapeake to Norfolk.

“I would have much preferred to have stayed here,” he said of the Chesapeake hospital.

Hospital president and CEO Reese Jackson would like more heart patients to stay here too, he told 10 On Your Side.

“We’re here saving people’s lives and that’s what we want to do in cardiovascular services too. We already do it, we just want to build upon what already exists here,” he said.

Jackson says the hospital has what it takes to open a state of the art cardiovascular operating room, but first they must prove to the state that there is a need for it.

“We serve an increasingly growing and aging population which is increasingly at risk for heart disease, so there is a community need,” he said.

Chesapeake Regional tried this once before, but Sentara Healthcare contested their Certificate Of Public Need application.

This time around, a Sentara spokeswoman told 10 On Your Side “Sentara has no comment on the pending COPN application.”

“As a reminder, Sentara has a well established and nationally recognized cardiac program serving the needs of our community,” the spokeswoman added.

Kern contends he received excellent care at Sentara, he just didn’t want to go there.

“I did not have a desire to change doctors, to change the people that were giving me care. I would have gladly stayed here,” he said.

He thinks people deserve a choice and argues a little healthy competition among hospitals might bring better care to all of Hampton Roads.

Chesapeake Regional Medical Center also has a website where community members can voice their support to the state.

The hospital plans to hold a public hearing in the next few weeks.

Stay with for more information on when they set the hearing date.

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