Moving Day for RMH

Brent Finnegan -- June 21st, 2010

Tuesday, June 22 is the big day Rockingham Memorial Hospital doctors, patients, employees and administrators have been anticipating for years. RMH will be making the transition from the current location on Cantrell and Mason in the city to the new facility on Port Republic Road in the county.

Photo by Merv Webb courtesy of RMH.

From a statement on the hospital’s website:

Starting at 7 a.m. June 22, RMH will move all inpatients from the 235 Cantrell Avenue hospital to the new hospital at 2010 Health Campus Drive.

RMH officials expect that about 110 patients will be transferred with the help of 22 rescue squads. A nurse will accompany each patient as he or she is moved to the new hospital. The move is expected to take eight to 10 hours.


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Hospital officials are advising Harrisonburg and Rockingham County residents to avoid Port, Cantrell and Reservoir tomorrow “as much as possible,” as ambulances and trucks will be using those roads heavily to transport patients and supplies. Additionally, Mason Street will be closed between Cantrell and Grace.

Help us track developments and traffic throughout the day by using the Twitter hashtag or commenting on this post.


(Disclosure: My fiancee works at RMH)

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43 Responses to “Moving Day for RMH”

  1. Holly says:

    Brent, thanks for helping to get the word out. One other thing to note–the new Emergency Department opens at 7 a.m. All those requiring emergency care should go to the new hospital as of that time.

  2. Brooke says:

    Did anyone notice they scheduled this during one of JMU’s orientation days? Holy bad planning is all I can say. No way for those parents to avoid Port Republic coming in. They’ll most likely have to hit Cantrell or Port depending on which exit they take.

    • nicklaus combs says:

      definitely will make for an interesting day!

    • Brooke says:

      I mean, why not have planned to do it Wednesday, which is a non Orientation day? How did no one think to consult with JMU, knowing that they run orientation this time of year, and usually have it planned WELL in advance?

    • Renee says:

      oh no!

    • Holly says:

      Brooke, RMH has worked with city and county officials for nearly two years to plan this move route, and the move date was announced to them at least a year ago. We have not heard any complaints, and everything went according to plan with the patient move today.

      • Brooke says:

        To city and county officials, or JMU? Did RMH and JMU discuss the date and how it would coincide with JMU’s orientation dates?

        Also, everything going according to plan is great, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a boneheaded move to do it the same day that freshmen and their parents were converging on the city. Wednesday would have made way more sense.

        Anyway, at this point it’s neither here nor there. It happened, nothing bad happened, and I’m really glad that everything apparently when according to plan.

    • Clinton Fitzgerald says:

      Why couldn’t they (the parents) go south of the Port Road (245) exit to the S. Main St exit (243). It would make for a few extra minutes on your travel time, but its not the end of the world!

  3. Amber says:

    JMU has known for years in advance that 6/22/10 would be the RMH moving day. They could have rescheduled it, but chose not to.

  4. Brooke says:

    Years? Really? First of all, I’m not sure I buy that, considering how much construction times can change on projects. They may have been *aiming* for 6/22/10 or even June 2010, “years” ago, but there’s no way till a few months ago that they know for sure that 6/22/10 would work for certain. No way. Just not buying it.

    On the other hand, JMU does orientation this time every single year. Every year. Makes more sense to consult with the thing that happens every single year to schedule the ONE day, one time event, if you ask me.

    • Brooke says:

      Either way, I agree, the two institutions should have consulted together to come up with a plan. Hopefully it won’t turn into a nightmare, because honestly, there’s too much at stake here to run into gridlock.

  5. Emmy says:

    I have been told by countless people that this hospital is not ready to open. I think they put too much into their advertising budget and had no choice but to keep this opening date. I’m hoping we don’t need to go to the hospital for any reason for at least a year while they work out the kinks.

    • Holly says:

      If that’s the case, I have not heard any staff remark as such. From what I’ve seen, everyone was extremely excited to be working in the new hospital today! The move date had been planned for about a year now, and several successful “day in the life” exercises, as well as general orientation for all staff, helped the staff get ready to operate.

    • Bazrik says:

      That’s pretty much bunk, Emmy. If you “heard” something – how about researching it before spouting off?

      Also, do you know exactly what RMH’s ad budget is? Compared to other hospitals of comparable size? Any info to back up your thoughts?

      • Emmy says:

        I don’t have to research it and I don’t have to justify my comments to you.

        • Bazrik says:

          Sure, you don’t have to – but if you want your comments to appear credible, as opposed to just “stuff you heard”, you may want to. But, judging by the defensive nature of your response, I’m guessing that’s not important to you.

          I’d recommend actually going over to the new facility – see for yourself, check it out.

  6. mtnsailor says:

    FYI–the new RMH is fully ready and opened properly, with top trained staff and good facilities.

  7. republitarian says:

    I heard the facilities were “extravagant”. It’s always cheaper to go to AMC, and almost as close.

    • Holly says:

      Actually, all hospital rates are public, and RMH has one of the very lowest in the state of Virginia. The new hospital does not affect operating costs–it was funded from completely separate capital campaigns, bonds and the sale of the old facility to JMU.

  8. Danny says:

    I will never use RMH again by choice. This whole corrupt, JMU bribed move is sickening.

  9. mtnsailor, if the staff is so well trained, why do so many of the physicians in the area take their family over to UVA?

    It’s just an observation I’ve made over the almost 15 years I’ve lived here…but it’s an observation I’ve made on more than one occasion.

  10. I like how, even with Rockingham County’s group policy, an uneventful pregnancy and child birth, we still walked out of RMH with a $2,255 bill….for about 24 hours in the hospital.

    • Brooke says:

      That sounds like more of an issue with your coverage than an issue with RMH. I paid about $400 for each of my children’s births with our coverage, and that was with an extended stay for each.

  11. Brooke says:

    Dave, that may have something more to do with the lack of specialists in the area, especially pediatric specialists, than the quality of the care at RMH.

    All of the trips we’ve made to UVA for one thing or the other for Jade have not been a reflection on the care at RMH at all, but rather on just not having those services available here, due to it being a smaller town. Heck, even to see a pediatric cardiologist, we have to wait till the first Tuesday of the month when a pediatric cardiologist comes to town from Richmond, and anything more than a checkup is a trip to UVA.

    It’s availability more than anything, I think. And it makes sense that UVA, being a bigger hospital, in a bigger city, attached to one of the bigger schools in the state, with a medical training facility is just going to attract more specialists than Harrisonburg. And even if Harrisonburg WANTS to start competing in that realm, it’s going to be hard, because, like you said, people are already used to expecting to have to go to UVA for certain types of services.

    But anytime we have anything other than heart stuff for Jade, I have absolutely no problem going to RMH for care. The few times I’ve had to go to RMH (babies, ER visits, outpatient surgery, etc.), I’ve been pleased with my care.

    • seth says:

      just as a point of order, cville isn’t a bigger city than the burg (http://www.citypopulation.de/USA-Virginia.html).

      • Brooke says:

        Duly noted. Thanks! Maybe more developed would be a better way to describe it? Charlottesville certainly has a bigger feel. I’m sure, in no small part, due to the size of UVA and their program.

        • Thanh says:

          I also think that the bigger feel of “Charlottesville” compared to Harrisonburg is due to the urbanized (more populated and developed) area in Albemarle County that surrounds Charlottesville. I think that most visitors to the area do not know where one jurisdiction ends and the other begins and think that they are in Charlottesville when they’re actually in Albemarle County. For example, Fashion Square Mall is located in Albemarle County, not City of Charlottesville.

          Here’s a weblink to information on population density in the urbanized areas nationwide, http://www.census.gov/geo/www/ua/ua2k.txt. Pulled info out below:

          Urbanized Area Name; Population; Area (sq meters); pop density

          Charlottesville,VA; 81,449; 97,040,676; 2,173.9

          Harrisonburg,VA; 52,647; 69,133,451; 1,972.3

          For visual reference, here’s a weblink to the maps of 2000 US Census identified urbanized areas (UA) in Virginia, http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/urbanmapresult.cfm?state=VA.

      • Deb SF says:

        IIRC, UVA is not counted in C’ville’s population, but JMU is counted in Hburg. Something about a long-ago deal with Thomas Jefferson.

  12. Emmy says:

    I have always had fantastic care at RMH and the one time I didn’t, it was from a doctor I had been seeing outside of the hospital so I do not blame that on RMH. I will go there for care, but I don’t like some of the things I’m hearing about the new place in terms of costs (for non-patient care related items) and it’s actual readiness.

  13. Barnabas says:

    Well if a mountain sailor says it’s ready, it must be ready. ;)

    • seth says:

      i’d be more inclined to beleive that if rmh says it’s ready, then it must be ready. of course, you may be more inclined to believe the rumor mill and the ‘countless’ pseudonymous people who say it’s not.

      • republitarian says:

        Well, if RMH says it’s ready….then I’m sure they are.

        Just talked to a nurse on my front porch that works in the ambulatory services dept….she says things have been “rushed”. She already put in her shift early this morning and is glad she’s done for the day…..

        • seth says:

          thanks myron,
          it’s good to get a perspective from people on the ground (even if it is still technically hearsay :)). i don’t mean to cast aspersions on the opinions of people who aren’t even commenting here. my point was more to call the tone of this thread into question. if there are concerns regarding the move, it’s timing or it’s haste, i think that they’re important questions to ask to the aproppriate parties. i’d imagine that when you move a hospital from one facility to another, there are a number of factors that necessitate a quick and complete move. while i’m sure that it was a stressful shift for the nurse you mentioned, i’d think that someone who’s aware of the bigger picture might be a better resource in terms of questions regarding the move. i’ve been really impressed with the newsworthy, original content of this site lately. i think if it’s going to continue to move in that direction, it’s important to foster an atmosphere of objective curiosity. the people who can answer your questions are going to be a lot less motivated to do so if they see this as a place where they’ll be castigated by the heedless masses before they even open their mouths.

          that being said, keep up the good work. i believe hburgnews has a bright future as a purveyor of accurate information in our community.

          • Emmy says:

            The people who have told me it isn’t ready are people who work there in a variety of different roles and departments. I certainly can’t say who they are here. Honestly though, someone in charge of the “big picture” is a lot less likely to see if they’re ready than those doing the work every day. I really hope they are ready and that everyone is cared for in the manner they deserve.

          • seth says:

            sorry emmy,
            i’m not trying to be nasty and it does suck to feel like you have valuable information that you can’t corroborate because the source probably wouldn’t want you to share it in an online forum and certainly wouldn’t want to be identified (careful, it’s been my experience more than once that people seem to enjoy identifying who those individuals are in the alleged interest of meaningless full disclosure).

            in terms of someone who’s supposed to see the big picture not seeing it more than those doing the work everyday, i will say that as someone responsible for managing others, i’d be very annoyed if someone asked for my worker’s opinions and then presented them as factual w/o so much as giving me a call. i understand what you’re saying, but i still believe that if you were looking for information on how the move went/any problems that were encountered, there are better sources than jane from radiology, jim from the laundry, joan from the admissions, etc. at the end of the day, i want to see this site be the best news source it can be. i don’t mean to be a jerk, but i felt like this thread was moving away from that.

      • Barnabas says:

        I was just hoping that if someone would make a statement that boldly that they would use they’re name so we could then weigh it’s validity.

        As far as people who work there saying it’s not ready, people hate change and not seeing the big picture and being taken out of your everyday routine can give a person a negative attitude. I would like to hear from a big picture person as well, wether they are a mountain sailor or an ocean climber.

  14. Regarding the difference in quality and variety of physicians of varioius specialties between the Charlottesville area and the Harrisonburg area (as indeed the city of Harrisonburg is indeed larger now than the city of Charlottesville), a major factor that has not been mentioned is that U.Va has one of the top medical schools in the country, if not the world, which is a major source of some of those very high quality specialists, whereas JMU does not even have a medical school, although nurses get trained here.

    • Brooke says:

      I did make a passing reference to UVA’s medical school. And the fact that UVA has it already makes it kind of unlikely that JMU will do it, or if they do, that they’ll be competitive any time soon, between UVA and MCV.

  15. Emmy says:

    I do want to make it very clear that I in NO way believe that anyone at the hospital would jeopardize patient care in order to make the opening and it’s clear that they’ve worked hard to prepare for this day.

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