Big Turnout at Public Hearing on CT Scanner Needed in Pittsylvania Co.

Pittsylvania Co., VA - Two local healthcare systems went head to head Friday to appeal for state and community support.

Danville Regional Medical Center wants a CT scanner for its facility in Chatham and Centra wants one for a new facility in Gretna.

The state has to first approve a certificate of public need in order to get the equipment, and local hospital officials say it's not likely the state will grant both.

Each side tried to drive their points home.

"This is probably the largest public hearing I have ever conducted," said one of the speakers.

DRMC and Centra leaders each had 15 minutes to present their requests to the state review analyst.

DRMC focused on increasing primary and preventative care.

Centra officials stressed the need to fill an emergency care void in Pittsylvania County.

Both groups need the state to allow them to have special diagnostic imaging machines to bring those plans to life.

"This project's a natural continuation of our longstanding history serving the residents of Northern Pittsylvania County," said a speaker.

Leaders in Pittsylvania County showed roughly equal support for the two organizations. But the most gripping pleas came from members of the community who shared personal stories to illustrate the need for better local healthcare.

"I think it's clear that the need exists for an emergency center in this area. The proposed 24 hour Centra facility will seem inadequate without a 64 slice CT scanner."

"You can go to an emergency room visit, but that's just a band-aid. These patients need long-term care and they need to connect to long term care facilities."

The state review analyst says the Commissioner could indeed grant or deny both requests. But some officials believe it's more likely to be one or the other.

The review board will make a recommendation and the Commissioner will make the ultimate decision.