NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — On Friday, Riverside Health System announced that the Virginia Department of Health has approved the construction of a new hospital in Isle of Wight County.

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“The decision is a tremendous win for the people of Isle of Wight and Surry Counties and all the people who make Western Tidewater their home,” said Riverside in a statement. “This decision clearly reflects the Western Tidewater region’s need for greater, more convenient access to high-quality, affordable medical care.”

The approval is a reversal from the VDH. A committee from the Virginia Department of Health had previously recommended that plans for Isle of Wight County’s first hospital be denied.

In an October 2021 analysis from the department’s Division of Certificate of Public Need, staff members wrote that the construction of a planned $100-million, 50-bed acute care facility would “unnecessarily duplicate existing services already available” in the region and that a more efficient proposal would be “maintenance of the status quo.”

The new facility, Riverside Smithfield Hospital, will be in a community that the federal government has designated as “medically underserved” and “health practitioner shortage areas.”

Riverside officials had previously said the hospital would have 34 medical-surgical beds, 10 intensive care unit beds, and six obstetric beds, four general-purpose operating rooms, and emergency department and other diagnostic, procedural and physician services.

A Riverside Smithfield Hospital Rendering (Credit: Riverside Health System)

For several years, Riverside Health Systems has owned land in the Benns Church area of Smithfield near the intersection of Routes US-258, VA-32 and VA-10.

Officials have not released a clear timeline on the construction of the new facility.