VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s March Team Member of the Month for March 2021

South Hill, VA  – The pandemic has affected almost every workplace in some manner. Adjustments arose. Careers changed. People pivoted.

At VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH), Director of Pharmacy Rick Clary, RPH, MBA, is no exception. “Rick has maintained a very positive leadership attitude during the chaotic and ever-changing vaccine phase of the COVID pandemic and has committed much personal time to ensuring these vaccines reach the people who need them the most,” said CEO Scott Burnette.

Rick earned the March Team Member of the Month award for STAR service: Safety, Teamwork, Accountability and Relationships. Rick said, “It was truly a team effort. Tracey Bailey, the Clinical Coordinator at the clinics, is more deserving of this than I am. It is a great feeling to make a difference and help meet the needs of the community.” Rick received the STAR service award, STAR pin, a parking tag that allows him to park wherever he wants for the month of April and a $40 gift card.

Rick started out his health care career as an emergency medical technician. He joined the hospital in 1985 as a pharmacy tech and worked his way up. “I knew I wanted to be in the medical field, so it just worked out; it was  good choice,” he explained. His leadership philosophy is to have fun at work and enjoy what you do every day. Rick has a daughter who graduated from the University of Virginia with a master’s in teaching and a son who is graduating from William & Mary and is headed to South Carolina to earn his Ph.D in history.

Rick encourages all who are eligible to get their vaccinations when the time comes. “It will make a difference so we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” he said. “Our hospital has 74% of staff fully vaccinated and we’ve seen a decrease in the number of COVID-postive employees and patients from double digits to single digits.”

Other nominees for March include: Tracey Bailey – C.A.R.E. Offices, Keisha Bumpass – Hendrick Rehab, Phyllis Cavan – Administration, Kelsey Clark – C.A.R.E. Offices, Erin Davis – Acute Care, Andrea Godette – Cardiology, Jennifer Hargrave – Garland Birthing Center, Joanne Malone – Quality, Mark Ornopia – Surgical Services, Curtis Poole – Food and Nutrition, Kathy Smith – C.A.R.E. Offices, Brianna Taylor – Administrative Representatives, and Angie Tanner – Quality.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

South Hill, VA (4/5/21) – In Virginia last year, distracted driving caused 17,000 accidents, including 120 fatalities and 9,000 injuries. The good news is accidents due to distracted driving have been on a decline over the past three years. Lawmakers have noticed and finally made driving with hand-held devices not lawful as of January 1, 2021. A texting while driving conviction carries a $125 fine for the first offense and a $250 fine for second or subsequent offenses. Overall, texting and cell phone use account for fewer than 10 percent of distractions.

From the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles website, “The three basic types of distracted driving are manual, visual and cognitive, and all three increase crash risk. During visual distraction, drivers’ eyes are off the road, such as looking at another accident or the dashboard. A driver’s hand is off the wheel during manual distraction, such as eating or handling an object. Cognitive distraction poses the highest risk because the driver’s mind is off driving. When a driver’s brain is overloaded by two cognitive tasks, such as driving and talking on the phone, drivers make the phone conversation the main task and driving becomes the secondary task, without recognizing it. Driving is severely impaired as a secondary task, and the impairment can last a long time.”

The average weight of a vehicle is 4,000 pounds. That kind of weight moving 60-70 miles per hour is the reason so many deaths and injuries occur. Janet Kaiser, Emergency Department Director at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) explains, “Being located right off I-85 and near the Route 58 corridor, we see a lot of trauma patients come in from motor vehicle accidents. One life is too many to lose. Please make driving the top priority and save lives.”

If someone is in an accident in Southside Virginia, they have access to VCU Health CMH. The emergency department has 16 private rooms including two large trauma rooms and staff and physicians capable of initiating care for most injuries. Visit for more information.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Screening and Early Detection is Key to Effective Treatment

South Hill, VA (3/15/21) - March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and a good time to learn more about colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) and how it can be prevented or best treated.

"Cancer in the colon and rectum is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. This cancer can be prevented with early screening tests, such as a colonoscopy," explained general surgeon Desiderio J. Rimon, MD.

How can I lower my risk?

To lower your risk of colorectal cancer, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and the American Cancer Society recommend that you:

-Get regular colorectal cancer screenings after age 45. Between 80-90% of colorectal cancer patients are restored to normal health if their cancer is detected and treated in the earliest stages. However, most insurance companies only cover colonoscopies at age 50 and older. Check with your insurance company first to be sure.

-Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet and maintain a healthy body weight.

-If you use alcohol, drink only in moderation. If you use tobacco, quit. If you don't use tobacco, don't start. Alcohol and tobacco in combination are linked to colorectal cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers.

-Exercise for at least 20 minutes three to four days each week. Moderate exercise such as walking, gardening or climbing steps may help.

Can colorectal cancer be cured?

Since there are very few symptoms associated with colorectal cancer, regular screening is essential. Screening is beneficial for two main reasons: colorectal cancer is preventable if polyps that lead to the cancer are detected and removed, and it is curable if the cancer is detected in its early stages.

In addition, studies have shown that patients treated by colorectal surgeons -- experts in the surgical and nonsurgical treatment of colon and rectal problems -- are more likely to survive colorectal cancer and experience fewer complications. This is attributed to colorectal surgeons' advanced training and the high volume of colon and rectal disease surgeries they perform.

Who is at risk for colorectal cancer?

The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age. All men and women aged 45 and older are at risk for developing colorectal cancer, and should be screened. Some people are at a higher risk and should be screened at an age younger than 45, including those with a personal or family history of inflammatory bowel disease; colorectal cancer or polyps; or ovarian, endometrial or breast cancer.

Current screening methods include fecal occult blood testing (a simple chemical test that can detect hidden blood in the stool), flexible sigmoidoscopy (a visual examination of the rectum and lower portion of the colon, performed in a doctor's office), double contrast barium enema (barium x-ray), colonoscopy (a visual examination of the entire colon) and digital rectal exam. Colorectal cancer screening costs are covered by Medicare and many commercial health plans. You should find out from your healthcare provider which screening procedure is right for you and how often you should be screened.

“At VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, our general surgeons are here to provide this life-saving procedure with compassionate and expert care. Make an appointment with one of our general surgeons today by calling (434) 584-2273. We are here for you,” said Dr. Rimon.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Announces Team Member of the Year 2020



Scott Burnette, , Loretta Richardson, Donna Jarrell, Todd Howell gather to celebrate Calvin winning the VCU Health CMH 2020 Team Member of the Year

South Hill, VA (3/9/21) – This year marks the 20th anniversary for VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital awarding a Team Member of the Year!  The selection process involves a separate scoring criteria from the monthly recipients.

Calvin Richardson, a rehab tech, earned the 2020 Team Member of the Year. His wife, Loretta, surprised him at work for the special announcement. “I was in shock; I was completely surprised,” Calvin said, a normally private person. “I want to thank my family, my church family and all my friends for supporting me in this endeavor.”

Donna Jarrell, Rehab Director, said, “We are so excited that Calvin won this award. Calvin is a stellar team member who focuses daily on helping others and creating a positive environment. Calvin often says, ‘I want to make each patient smile and have a bright moment in their day.’”

He was initially chosen for the monthly award by doing something completely out of his normal role at the hospital. Having been employed at CMH in various roles over the past 36 years, he is well known by his coworkers as having a servant’s heart. He also serves as the primary pastor of Bibleway Church of Christ in Boydton, where he and Loretta reside. So it was providential that Calvin was in the right place at the right time. A patient was in need of a chaplain and Calvin was able to fill that role.

About 10 years into his tenure at the hospital working in housekeeping and security, a coworker suggested he apply for the rehab tech position. He received all the training he needed on the job and has been loving it ever since.

“I show people I care and I love them regardless of age, color or cultural backgrounds,” Calvin explained. He is a strong proponent of mentoring and has a passion to train up young men.

In his time off, which isn’t much between two full-time jobs, he understands the value of rest. He also enjoys cutting grass. He has two nieces he loves dearly; Ceira is 24 and is a government contractor, and Bria is 22 and earning a master’s degree in health science at Emory University in Atlanta.

Calvin was recognized with a lapel pin, an award, a $200 hotel voucher and $300 spending money to take a trip to a destination of his choice. He and Loretta are planning to celebrate their upcoming 12th wedding anniversary at Virginia Beach.

New Behavioral Health Practice in South Hill

Onaiza Anees, MD, is available for psychiatric appointments at CMH Behavioral Health at 140 East Ferrell Street in South Hill starting March 1, 2021.

South Hill, VA (2/28/21) – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) is pleased to announce the opening of CMH Behavioral Health in South Hill on March 1, 2021. Onaiza Anees, MD, will start seeing patients ages three and older in this practice, located at 140 East Ferrell Street.

Dr. Anees earned her medical degree in Pakistan at Sindh Medical College. She completed an Adult Psychiatry Residency at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center - Icahn School of Medicine in Bronx, New York. She finished her Child Psychiatry fellowship at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, New York, where she graduated as the Chief fellow of her department. Dr. Anees trained in psycho-dynamic psychotherapy at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York.

Dr. Anees has worked with children, adolescents and adults throughout her career. She believes in individualized treatment for each patient, building a healthy therapeutic relationship. She incorporates psychotherapy, medication, nutrition, exercise and emphasizes the mind-body connection. “Each patient is unique. They bring their own story, family dynamics, background, genetics, and circumstances. It is my goal to help the overall health and well-being of all my patients; by making sure they are getting the care they need at every stage of their lives,” Dr. Anees explains.

Dr. Anees is a member of the American Child Psychiatric Association. The new practice will start taking appointments starting March 1 when the practice opens. Call (434) 584-5400 March 1 or later to make an appointment with Dr. Anees.

Dr. Ingrid Vaughan Earns Team Member of the Month at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital for January 2021

South Hill, VA (2/17/21) - Dr. Ingrid Vaughan, a veteran in the anesthesia practice for 30 years, joined VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in 2014 and has most recently earned the January Team Member of the Month award for STAR Service. While her years of service show obvious dedication, her volunteering outside of normal hours inspired her nomination.

“During the Holidays, with the rising number of COVID patients and limited staff, Dr. Vaughan came in to work on her day off and volunteered as a donner and doffer for the covid rooms,” Dr. Ikenna Ibe, Vice President of Medical Affairs, said in his nomination. Staff have volunteered their time to take extra shifts to assist in making sure personal protective equipment is worn and removed properly.

During the presentation, Dr. Ibe said her assistance with volunteering to help staff has been a blessing to many.

Todd Howell, Vice President of Professional Services, awarded Dr. Vaughan with the STAR Service award, STAR pin, a parking tag that allows her to park wherever she wants for the month of February and a $40 gift card.

Dr. Vaughan lives in South Hill and has a 26-year-old daughter who lives in Wilmington, NC. They both are animal lovers and avid runners, having run a half marathon together every year for 6 years until this past year. 

Dr. Vaughan said she has always tried to start the morning in a positive way since the pandemic. “I try to think of what I am grateful for,” she said.

Other nominees included Jane Allen, Ricky Bland, Theresa Griles, Tayanna Jones, and Rose Walker.

American Heart Month and Zoom Talk on Heart Disease & Women

South Hill, VA (1/21/21) – Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 655,000 deaths each year. That’s why in 1963 President Johnson declared February American Heart Month, to remind people of the symptoms, risk factors and steps they can take to improve their health, while they are already thinking of heart matters for Valentine’s Day. Tragically, President Johnson died ten years later from a heart attack at the age of 64.

In honor of National Heart Month, cardiologist Bethany Denlinger, MD, FACC, will speak on Heart Disease and Women virtually via Zoom on Tuesday, February 23, at 12:00 noon. This 20-minute talk is open to the public and no registration is required. “I like the problem-solving part of taking care of patients,” explains Dr. Denlinger. “Some patients have typical complaints of chest pain, but sometimes not. Women have atypical symptoms of heart disease and can be more difficult to diagnose.”

Save this link to join the discussion on February 23: . This seminar will be recorded. Your presence is your permission to post on VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s website so more people can benefit from hearing this information.

Warning signs tend to differ for men and women but chest pain is the most common complaint. Other signs include discomfort in other areas of the upper body like arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach, shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat or lightheadedness. Women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea, and back or jaw pain. If you have any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Don’t try to drive yourself or you could pass out and injure yourself and others. Don’t get someone else to drive you because the EMTs can provide time and tissue saving care to help you before you arrive at the hospital. Don’t worry about not being sure because it is better to mistake the symptoms than permanently damage your heart by waiting.

National Wear Red Day® is Friday, February 5, 2021. Wear red to show your support of heart health.




Elective Surgery Update

South Hill, VA (1/12/21) - Due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) precautions established by the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and the Virginia Department of Health, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital ceased performing any elective surgeries as of Tuesday, January 12, 2021, until further notice. All patients with scheduled surgeries will be contacted by VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital. Patients with emergent issues will be treated at VCU Health CMH using COVID-19 protocols. If you have questions, please contact your provider. This change is for elective procedures in the hospital and does not include patient visits to providers in VCU Health CMH’s practice offices in the C.A.R.E. Building, Hendrick Cancer & Rehab Center, Solari Radiation Therapy Center, or at Chase City Primary Care Center, Clarksville Primary Care Center or Tanglewood Family Medicine in Bracey.

Patient and staff safety remain a top priority and preventing the spread of this virus also remains a priority for VCU Health CMH. VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital continues to use control measures to help stem the spread of the virus.

Visitor restrictions remain in place at the hospital, with visiting limited to Labor & Delivery, Pediatrics and end-of-life patients. All visitors entering the hospital and C.A.R.E. Building will be screened for symptoms related to the Coronavirus.

As has been the case since this virus started, VCU Health CMH recommends everyone practice social distancing  - maintaining at least six feet of distance between people and continue with hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds of duration.


Be a Stroke Hero

Lisa Smith, RN, BSN, CICU, Stroke Program Coordinator at VCU Health CMH.  Yasir Al-Khalili, MD, Neurologist at VCU Health CMH.
Tawny Jackson is the Senior Manager of Quality Improvement,
Quality, Outcomes, Research & Analytics at the American Heart Association.

South Hill, VA (1/13/21) – Stroke kills about 3,300 Virginians each year – that’s 1 out of every 20 deaths. Someone in Virginia has a stroke every 50 minutes. Every 2.5 hours, someone dies of a stroke in Virginia. About 26,000 Virginians have suffered a stroke who had a history of a previous stroke, while 17,000 had a first time stroke. VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) typically sees more than 200 cases of stroke each year.  

Learn the FAST warning signs:
F- Face Drooping
A -Arm Weakness
S -Speech Difficulty
T- Time to call 911 

VCU Health CMH Invites the community to join them for an educational outreach on stroke at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 18, 2021. CMH Stroke Program Coordinator Lisa Smith, RN, BSN, CICU, Neurologist Yasir Al-Khalili with VCU School of Medicine and Tawny Jackson from the American Stroke Association will discuss stroke, its diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. In the interest of public safety, they are abiding by the CDC guidelines related to Covid-19. This will be a 100% online experience open to the public from the comfort and safety of your own home using Zoom. You could be a Stroke Hero; join them to find out how. 

Join using Zoom:

Meeting ID: 990 2812 0279 

Passcode: 300692 

Contact with any questions. VCU Health CMH has received the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and is a Primary Stroke Center as deemed by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association. Visit our website for more stroke-related information at: .

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital December 2020 Team Member of the Month

Mildred Waye, a care partner in Acute Care, earned the December, 2020 Team Member of the Month award for STAR Service at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

South Hill, VA (1/5/20) – Mildred Waye, a care partner in Acute Care, is no stranger to being recognized for her good service. She has earned several awards over the past 40 years and most recently earned the December Team Member of the Month award for STAR Service at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH). A patient nominated her because she meets all four of the qualifications: Safety, Teamwork, Accountability and Relationships.

“She is so funny and I’m glad I got to have her as my care partner. She is one I will never forget,” the patient wrote. Mildred’s supervisor, Mellisa Black, DNP, RN, MS, CCRN, NE-BC, describes her, “Mildred is always a role model to our team on what STAR Service really looks like. She is kind, compassionate and able to connect on a deeper level with her patients and families.”

CEO Scott Burnette awarded Mildred with the STAR Service award, STAR pin, a parking tag that allows her to park wherever she wants for the month of January and a $40 gift card.

Mildred loves to take care of her patients and get them what they need. She also enjoys helping nurses. She has one son and lives with her husband and three dogs in Victoria. Her advice to others is, “Treat others as you want to be treated and just do your best.”

Other nominees included Tracy Evans in Acute Care from Alberta, Magen Long in the ICU from Kenbridge and Samantha Throckmorton in Acute Care from Red Oak.

VCU Health CMH Year End Letter from Scott Burnette, CEO

To Our CMH Supporters,

Traditionally, during the last quarter of the calendar year, I present an annual update on Community Memorial Hospital at one or more public town hall events.  As with most things this year, COVID-19 has made those in-person meetings impossible.  Still I wanted to share with you what has occurred at your community hospital this past year.  I apologize for the length of the letter, but CY 2020 has been active to say the least.

CMH has continued to treat patients on a non-stop basis since February and is experiencing a 3rd surge since. We participated in clinical trials for the treatment of this virus and will continue to do so as new treatment therapies are developed. We have expanded our physical space as part of our preparatory plans for a significant surge in COVID patient volume after the holidays. 

We are expanding our testing capability and making preparations to receive the vaccine once it is available.  I realize the restrictions we have placed on patient visitation have proven to be a burden on patients and families; however, these extreme measures are necessary to protect all of our patients and our staff so we stand ready for anyone who may need our services.  I cannot adequately express my pride in the CMH teams in our acute, long-term care, home health and ambulatory divisions that have shown their resilience, unwavering commitment and bravery in dealing with this continuing battle.  Likewise, I want to thank the many members of the community who have shown phenomenal support through many acts of kindness for our staff.  I encourage everyone to adhere to the preventative measures of masking, physical distancing and hand washing.  They have proven to be the most effective deterrent during this pandemic. 

Despite the impact of COVID, CMH has had a year of growth.  We have continued to add new members to our medical staff.  Since the beginning of our fiscal year on July 1st, we have added nine talented physicians to our team:  Drs. Darrell Brown and Katie Vemireddy (OB/GYN), Mark Carreras and Bryan Mosora (Emergency Medicine), Saroj Kandel and Bikram Saini (Hospitalists), John Pearson (Urology), Madana Vallem, Khalid Hasan and Sreenivasulu Metikala (Orthopedics), and Charles Nwaokocha (Internal Medicine) as well as nurse practitioners Sarah Ashworth at The Hundley Center and Dion Tomer in the Emergency Department.  We also have commitments for even more additions to the team by July of 2021:  Drs. Anaiza Anees (Child & Adolescent Psychiatry), Thomas Alukai and Soney Basnyat (Hospitalists) and Obed Adarkwah (Pulmonary/Critical Care).  To accommodate these providers, we completed the build out of the 2nd floor of the C.A.R.E. Building and we will be reopening our Ferrell Street office to accommodate the new psychiatry/behavioral health practice.  Recruitment efforts for additional specialists to serve the needs of this area, with several promising candidates, are in various stages of the process.  VCU Health’s commitment to meeting the health care needs of this region remains unchanged. 

As you can imagine, COVID had a significant financial impact on CMH operations when we were required to close our outpatient services during the first several months of the pandemic outbreak.  Likewise, the previously mentioned efforts to expand capacity, supplies and staff weighed heavily on performance.  The revenues received from the federal government’s CARES Act funds did provide significant relief; however, they did not cover the lost revenue from the growth that CMH was experiencing prior to the pandemic.  In short, CMH ended FY 2020 with an operating loss of $1.9 million which, despite the challenges of COVID, was a significant improvement over the $12.6 million loss in FY 19.  (It should be noted that 2019 was a year of significant investment in new clinics for the region, which were beginning to show major growth in our 2020 fiscal year.)

Our efforts to expand telemedicine services were interrupted by the pandemic; however, we were able to leverage the equipment that we received from our USDA grant to provide telemedicine visits into patients’ homes when we restricted visits to our physician practices due to COVID.  We have since regained momentum with our efforts to expand primary care and physician specialist availability to off-site locations.  We are currently offering this service to The Hundley Center nursing home and soon will be offering specialist consults via telemedicine in Clarksville and Chase City.  This program shows great promise for expansion into other parts of our service area in 2021.

Thanks to the many programs we have added, and are continuing to develop, CMH is experiencing patient volume growth.  We have seen our market share growing not only in our primary service area, but in markets more distant as well.  All of the services offered at CMH are integrated with VCU Medical Center and all of its clinics so we can offer a full array of care to our patients.  Patients can receive everything from primary and preventative care up to cutting edge treatments and clinical trials that are part of leading edge research from the many programs offered by VCU Health.

I realize this letter is a bit long, but given the challenges, and frankly dangers of gathering in large groups, I want our supporters to know just some of the activities underway at your community hospital.  I want to end by wishing you and your families a very Happy New Year.  With several new very effective COVID vaccines, 2021 is already looking brighter than 2020!


W. Scott Burnette, Chief Executive Officer

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Thanks Local Businesses for Employee Donations

(South Hill, VA) – Local businesses donated items and gift certificates to VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital employees as a thank you for everything they’ve done for the community during the pandemic. Team members were randomly drawn to win the items, spreading holiday cheer.

A big thanks to the following businesses for their generous donations: The Bobbin’ Cork, Bringleton’s Coffee House, Busy Bee Southern Deli, Copper Kettle Restaurant, The Donut Shop, El Saucito, Freedom Life Fitness, Grandfather’s Country Creations, Kelly Wells Photography, Knot Therapy, The Lamplighter, Los Bandidos, Los Cocos, Lundy Layne, Off the Chain Food Truck, Sass & Sawdust, Southernly Sweet Teas and Tabitha Gaulding Photography.

Shawntay Alexander received maple bacon dip and a Swedish dishcloth from Lundy Layne.

Allison Beagle received a gift card and travel mug from Bringleton’s Coffee House.

Eunice Kim received a gift bag from Lundy Layne.

VCU Health CMH Update

For our patients — your safety is our top concern.

Because of the increase in positive COVID tests throughout our service area, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital is tightening visitation guidelines for the hospital, the C.A.R.E. Building, Clarksville Primary Care Center and Chase City Primary Care Center effective Friday, November 13, 2020.

“We are taking these necessary precautions to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus,” said Scott Burnette, CEO at VCU Health CMH.

He continued, “We are asking people to continue to practice physical distancing – as in do not interact with others closely unless absolutely necessary. It is recommended that people keep at least six feet of distance from others to provide additional safeguards against the Corona (COVID) virus. Washing your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds is also vital in combating the virus.”

Burnette said many precautions have been implemented to make sure VCU Health CMH is doing everything possible to confront the challenges the Corona virus presents. Following is a list of restrictions, all done to help prevent the spread of the virus.

  • All visitors must be screened and provided an armband or badge.
  • All visitors must be masked at all times.
  • Visitors must comply with physical distancing guidelines in all common areas.
  • To avoid overcrowded lobby waiting areas, visitors are encouraged to remain in their vehicle except when they are visiting a patient.
  • All visitors are required to use hand sanitizer upon entering the facility and frequently during their stay.
  • If patient clinical needs dictate no visitors (i.e. chemotherapy), visitors are encouraged to remain in their vehicle. Visitors must maintain appropriate physical distancing in all waiting areas.

For Inpatients at CMH:

  • Visiting hours remain 8 AM until 8 PM
  • Non-COVID patients are allowed 1 visitor per day.
  • A visitor will be allowed to leave the premises and re-enter the same day provided they have a hospital visitor badge on with the current date. They will not have to be rescreened.
  • If a visitor re-enters the same day without a hospital visitor badge, they will have to be rescreened.
  • Front lobby personnel are required to ask visitors, who are leaving, if they plan to return. If they do not, the hospital visitor badge will be removed.
  • Surgery patients may be accompanied by 1 adult companion.
  • Pediatric Surgery patients should be accompanied by 1 Parent/POA/Guardian.
  • Pediatric patients - 1 adult visitor (18 yrs. or older) at a time, allowing one to spend the night. Parent/POA/Guardian made trade off. No more than two visitors per day.
  • Labor & Delivery – 2 adult visitors (18 yrs. or older) at a time, allowing one to spend the night. No more than two visitors per day.

For outpatients being seen in the hospital, C.A.R.E. Building, Chase City Primary Care Center and Clarksville Primary Care Center

  • Only patients may enter the hospital, C.A.R.E. Building, Chase City Primary Care and Clarksville Primary Care, except for patients needing assistance, who may be accompanied by 1 adult companion.
  • Patients 18 and under may be accompanied by 1 adult. All patients and companions must wear a mask.

For the Emergency Department at VCU Health CMH:

  • Only patients may enter the Emergency Department, except for patients needing assistance, who may be accompanied by 1 adult companion.
  • Pediatric patients are allowed 1 adult companion. Parent/POA/Guardian made trade off.
  • Exceptions to the visitation rules for specific incidents will be in accordance with ED policy or permission from the Administrative Representative.

The Hundley Center

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken action to aggressively respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  In order to comply with CMS mandates, nursing homes nationwide implemented restrictions and The Hundley Center at VCU Health CMH complied by suspending all visitation. That visitor restriction remains in place.  Residents have access to a private phone in their rooms.  To reach a resident, please dial (434) 584, followed by the number 4 and the three digits of the resident’s room number.  Our goal of protecting the health of each resident is of the utmost importance during this unprecedented situation.

Dr. Katie Vermireddy Joins VCU Health CMH

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill would like to welcome Katie Vemireddy, M.D. to our family of health care providers. Dr. Vemireddy specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology.  

Dr. Vemireddy is a native Virginian and said she is excited to be back in her home state caring for other Virginians as well as North Carolinians.   

"I enjoy working with and caring for women of all ages. My greatest interests are obstetrics, contraception, and preventive health,” she said.  

Dr. Vemireddy earned her Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville and completed her residency training at Greenville Health System (PRISMA Health) in Greenville, South Carolina.  

Most recently, Dr. Vemireddy worked as an OB/GYN for Novant Health Mint Hill in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her certifications and memberships include the American Board of Obstetricians & Gynecology, the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and the American Medical Association.  

Dr. Vemireddy is now accepting patients at CMH Women’s Health Services located inside the C.A.R.E. Building at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill. To schedule an appointment, call (434) 584-2273 (CARE).  

Dr. Vemireddy joins Dr. Darrell Brown, OB/GYN, Dr. Ramesh Seeras, OB/GYN and Terry Wooten, Certified Nurse-Midwife, in providing a complete range of personalized and preventive gynecologic care to women at every stage of life. 

To view a full list of services visit:  

Dr. Vemireddy lives in South Hill with her husband and enjoys travel, cooking, reading, and watching movies. 

Good Dental Hygiene Makes A Big Difference

By Natasha Grover, DDS, VCU Health CMH Family Dental Clinic

Maintaining your teeth isn’t only about looking good.  Poor dental hygiene can lead to problems that are much bigger than an unpleasant smile. Tooth decay and gum disease can affect other parts of your body, including your heart.

Why is it important to practice good dental hygiene?

Good oral/dental health translates to good health overall. Dental problems such as cavities or gum disease can impair your ability to eat and speak properly, cause pain and bad breath. And what many people may not realize, is that poor dental health can have a profoundly, negative affect on areas outside of the mouth, including your heart, diabetes, pregnancy and chronic inflammation, such as arthritis — to name a few.

Some studies suggest that the bacteria in gum disease can travel to your heart and cause heart disease, clogged arteries or stroke. Gum infections, such as periodontitis, have been linked to premature births and low-birth weight in pregnant women. Diabetics should be especially careful about dental health because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, making the gums more susceptible to infection, which can adversely affect blood sugar.

Practicing good dental hygiene is so important because it can prevent these type of oral disease and dental problems. And prevention should be the primary focus. I advise the following:


Brushing at least twice a day for good oral health. If you get the chance, it can be good to brush after every meal. Make sure you floss daily, too. Floss can clean crevices even the most thorough brushing might miss.


Fluoride is super important to healthy teeth. Fluoride is a salt that is shown to prevent tooth decay. It is so important, fluoride is even added to our water. When choosing dental hygiene products, make sure to choose products that contain fluoride. This helps reduce your chance of getting cavities.


An old toothbrush might feel like it’s doing the job, but your toothbrush should be replaced about every three months. The bristles soften over time, and bend out of shape. Both of these things mean they do their job less well. Also, toothbrushes get dirty. Bacteria can collect in your toothbrush over time. It is important to replace your toothbrush before those bacteria can damage your teeth or make you sick.


You might be surprised how much of an affect what you eat can have on your teeth. Of course we all know that sugary foods like candy and soda can cause cavities. Some foods can also do your teeth a world of good. Dairy products are high in bone-healthy calcium to strengthen your teeth. Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples and celery can scrape food particles off of teeth and also stimulate saliva production to clean your mouth.


Even the most diligent tooth-brusher can’t get the same clean that a dental professional can. Many people think it is unnecessary to visit the dentist, but a hygienist can reach places it can be hard to clean on your own. Specialized tools can also get teeth cleaner than a toothbrush can. Your regular dental visit also includes an exam, so we can keep an eye out for any signs of decay or developing problems. For most patients, we recommend visiting the dentist’s office every six months.

What are the signs of a serious dental problem?

You should see your dentist if you experience pain, bleeding gums, swelling, both inside and outside the mouth, tenderness, blisters and ulcers that don’t heal, or noticeable changes in color or texture of the soft tissues. These could all be indications of a serious, or potentially serious condition, such as mouth cancer or chronic gum disease.

The CMH Family Dental Clinic is able to see patients who do not have the ability to pay for dental care in part because of a grant the clinic received from the Virginia Health Care Foundation.

The CMH Family Dental Clinic is accepting new patients. If you need a dentist, please call 434-584-5590.

VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month for September 2020

Hannah Conway, Occupational Therapy Assistant

W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital presented Hannah Conway, Occupational Therapy Assistant, the VCU Health CMH STAR Service Team Member of the Month Award for September.  There to congratulate Hannah was Todd Howell, Vice President of Professional Services, Donna Jarrell, Director of Rehab Services and Mike Simmons, Respiratory Manager.

Hannah has been employed at VCU Health CMH for two years.  The nomination form submitted on her behalf stated, “Hannah is such a caring team member.  She willingly stayed late to help with patients without a hint of frustration, only smiles and warmth.  She went above and beyond to make sure I was safe when seeing patients.  She is a selfless team player and I can’t thank her enough.

When asked what words of wisdom she would give other employees, Hannah stated, “If you can spend a little extra time with a patient to meet their needs it can really make their day."  Hannah also added, “CMH is a great place to work, everyone works together so well as a team.” 

In addition to the “star” award, Hannah received a STAR Service lapel pin, letter of commendation from Administration, a $40 gift certificate, and a parking place of her choice for the month.

Hannah currently resides in Brodnax, VA.

Alpha Pi Donates to VCU Health CMH

Yvette Morris, president of the Alpha Pi chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority, presents Ashley Wallace, RN (center) and Jordan Young, RN, both nurses in the Birthing Center, with books that the nurses are able to give out to each newborn at VCU Health CMH.

Most teachers will tell you that reading is a great way to get ahead in school. A group of teachers from eastern Mecklenburg County is hoping to instill the love of reading from a very early age. 

The Alpha Pi Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma made another donation of books to VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s Garland Birthing Center recently. 

The Delta Kappa Gamma Society promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education. 

The president of the local chapter, Yvette Morris, said, “We want to build a passion for reading. We are thrilled to be able to help bring books to children.” 

With more than 70 books, the group has helped make sure all new parents at the Garland Birthing Center at VCU Health CMH will be able to take home a book for their newborn. 

According to Sarah Carlton, MSN, RNC-OB, LCCE, Clinical Coordinator of the Garland Birthing Center, “The nurses on labor and delivery love being able to gift a book to our new babies. Some nurses even write personalized birthday notes to the newborns. The parents are always so appreciative of the support and love our community shows! Big brothers and sisters also get to enjoy picking a new book off the shelf, as well. The book donations and the amazing support from Alpha Pi make a lifelong impression on our new parents, babies and siblings!” 

For Ken Kurz, director of the CMH Foundation, the ladies of the Alpha Pi Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma prove what he has come to learn about Southside Virginia. 

“The way people like these fine ladies care, it just builds my belief in what a great place we live,” he said. 

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital receives Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognizes VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s commitment to quality stroke care. 

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital has received the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. 

VCU Health CMH earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions 

“VCU Health CMH is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said Lisa Smith, RN, BSN, CICU, Stroke Program Coordinator at VCU Health Community Memorial “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”  

VCU Health CMH additionally received the Association’s Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke  

Further, VCU Health CMH received the Association’s Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed with more than 90 % of compliance for 12 consecutive months for the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.” 

“We are pleased to recognize VCU Health CMH for their commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and Executive Vice Chair of Neurology, Director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.” 

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

VCU Health CMH Presents 2020 Nursing Awards

Milagros Silverman, the Dee McMillan Nurse Care Partner Award recipient; Erin Truman, RN, the Alice Tudor Professional Nurse Award recipient; and Gloria Grinan, LPN, the Carol Love Licensed Practical Nurse Award recipient.

The Professional Development Council of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital recently recognized three extraordinary people.  One of the council’s goals is to offer recognition to nurses and nurse care partners for their continual commitment to excellence.

VCU Health CMH first gave out these awards on Nurses’ Day, May 6, 2009 and this tradition has continued and grown stronger each year.  This year the Professional Development Council of VCU Health CMH received numerous nominations, a testament to the many dedicated professionals among the hospital’s staff.  This year’s awards were given to three incredible individuals, whose impact and contributions to nursing at VCU Health CMH have been tremendous.   

The three original awards were named after three special people, Dee McMillan, Carol Love and Alice Tudor. These women embodied the values that are respected in nursing: hard work, diligence, kindheartedness, compassion, knowledge, loyalty and support.      

The Dee McMillan Nurse Care Partner Award is named after the late Dee McMillan, who was a true nurse partner for many nurses and nursing staff at VCU Health CMH. She was a person who wore many hats when she worked within the organization. Dee demonstrated commitment in her work and a kindhearted attitude toward everyone she met. This award is presented each year in her memory as the Dee McMillan Nurse Care Partner Award.

This year’s recipient of the Dee McMillan Care Partner Award is Milagros Silverman.  Milagros has been employed at VCU Health CMH for nine years.  She leads the way for others and always makes sure that patients are safe throughout her shift. If she knows that a patient is on fall risk, she is often seen watching the patient closely and ready to assist right away if the at risk patient tries to get out of bed. Milagros strives to be her best and wants everyone in the unit to do the same. She never complains and always has a smile on her face. She is a preceptor and trains other Care Partners in a professional and welcoming manner. She goes above and beyond without hesitation to assist her peers, the patients, family members, and others in any way that she can. Milagros demonstrates relationship based care every day with her caring attitude and always puts the patient first.

Carol Love, LPN, was awarded the first LPN Award from the Professional Development Council of VCU Health CMH in 2009 for her leadership, commitment, caring attitude, demonstration of professionalism, and contribution to the Practical Nursing Program.  Thereafter, the award was named the Carol Love Licensed Practical Nurse Award in her honor, and is given each year to an LPN, for their exemplary contribution to nursing at VCU Health CMH.

The recipient of this year’s Carol Love Licensed Practical Nurse Award is Gloria Grinan, LPN.  Gloria has been employed at VCU Health CMH for thirty years.  She is described as a team player and will jump in and help out whenever needed. She willingly shares her expertise with other team members. She is an educator to team members and shares her tricks of the trade. Gloria treats her patients as if they were her own family with her quiet caring attitude. She always exhibits integrity in her nursing practice and is dressed to impress each day, uniform always pressed, presenting herself in a very professional manner. Her professionalism is evident in her community with her church involvement and assistance with health fairs. Gloria is an inspiration to team members, patients and families, the community, and her church family. At VCU Health CMH, she is well respected and treats everyone as if they are her family. She is always willing to go the extra mile and help anyone in need.

The Alice Tudor Professional Nursing Award is named after Ms. Alice Tudor, a CMH professional registered nurse. Ms. Tudor always presented with a professional appearance at work, her demeanor was an example of how a professional registered nurse should behave around their co-workers, patients and families. For more than 50 years, nurses looked up to Ms. Tudor and what she stood for as a professional nurse. This award is presented to a Registered Nurse each year in her honor as the Alice Tudor Professional Nurse Award.

The recipient of this year’s Alice Tudor Professional Nurse Award is Erin Truman, RN.  Erin has been employed by VCU Health CMH for four years. She is a role model for Relationship Based Care. Through her actions, Erin exemplifies positive relationships with our patients and our team that generate a positive work environment.  Erin is respected by her team and has emerged as a leader serving as a Preceptor and in other leadership roles. She has a professional, friendly demeanor that facilitates communication with team members. She has a strong relationship with our provider team who look at her as partner in care delivery to our patients. They respect her opinions and work together collegially to obtain the best outcome possible for the patients. Erin promotes professional growth and contribution to change by continuing to be open to learning and taking on new challenges, all while being a role model for others. She represents her unit by serving on several hospital-wide committees such as the Patient Experience Committee. She also takes pride in her own professional growth as she is continuing her education and has obtained a Medical Surgical Nurse Certification.  Erin is a professional nurse with a caring spirit.

All 2020 Nursing Award recipients were nominated by their peers or their manager. Each one has demonstrated care and compassion to patients and families and exemplifies excellence in nursing practice and leadership.

Letter to the Editor from W. Scott Burnette, CEO of VCU Community Memorial Health


I want to take this opportunity to let this community know how proud they should be of the health care team at Community Memorial Hospital as they have faced the challenge of dealing with COVID-19.  Over the last five plus months, the CMH team has shown true dedication to caring for patients in what could easily be called the worst of times, other than that of a war zone perhaps.  However, for all intents and purposes, they have been engaged in a war with an invisible, yet very deadly disease.  Highly infectious patients may not even display any symptoms of illness, yet can transmit the virus simply by being close to others and not wearing a mask.  The act of speaking, a sneeze or a simple cough can send droplets containing the virus that can then be absorbed through the mouth, nose or eyes of another person.

Since COVID-19 arrived, the CMH team transformed a 70 bed community hospital into a multi-hospital complex capable of housing at least 225 acute care and critical care patients.  This transition was accomplished within the first three weeks after the declaration of a state of emergency and was made possible by our ability to repurpose the original Community Memorial Hospital facility.  The amount of effort that was necessary to accomplish this was extraordinary and speaks volumes to the caliber of individuals who make up the CMH team.

We have had to change how we operate all of our clinics and our patient care services.  Our direct care teams have had to adapt to more strict levels of infection prevention protocols and daily put aside their fears of working in an environment that exists to treat all illnesses and injuries, but is also ready to face this new world-wide pandemic.  This requires an enormous amount of dedication and resilience and it is something that will carry them through these many months yet to come until an effective vaccine can be developed.  I also want to thank the community for adapting to our stricter visitor guidelines that are necessary to ensure everyone’s safety at our facilities.  I realize they have been an inconvenience; but, cooperation overall has been great and it is much appreciated. 

While we all seem to have adapted a bit more to this “world of COVID-19”, I wanted everyone to know how awesome the CMH team of health care professionals is and how proud I am to be their CEO.  I also want to thank this community for the many expressions of support and encouragement that have been offered to the staff at the hospital and all of our patient care divisions of CMH.  It means a lot for them to know that their willingness to face the daily risk to their personal health is appreciated.  This same dedication is demonstrated by our EMS partners in this region who have worked tirelessly to make sure all patients receive whatever care is needed and I want to thank them as well.

We are not out of the woods with COVID-19 yet, but the teams at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital and VCU Medical Center in Richmond stand ready to face this challenge as they have done so well throughout our histories.

No words are adequate to express my appreciation to the CMH team, so I will simply end this letter by saying “Thank You.”


W. Scott Burnette

Chief Executive Officer

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

Ladies of the Lake Donate to Cancer Care

Committed, caring and fun. That’s the way Ken Kurz, Director of Marketing and Development for VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, described a group of women who are continually making a difference for cancer patients at the Hendrick Cancer & Rehab Center in South Hill.

“They just bring a smile to everyone’s face when they stop by,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt that they always bring a check to benefit our Cancer Care Fund, but their smiles are infectious and they work so hard to help us care for our patients.”

The group presented a $1,000 check to Kurz and Teresa Collins, Director of the Radiation and Medical Oncology Department at CMH, recently for the fund.

“These ladies have enriched the lives of our cancer patients, through their selfless acts of kindness. Their commitment and dedication to our cancer population is phenomenal! When I think of these ladies, the following quote by Brene Brown comes to mind, "Compassion is not a virtue -- it is a commitment. It's not something we have or don't have-- It is something that we choose to practice," said Collins.

The VCU Health CMH Cancer Care Fund was started by the CMH Foundation and generous donors to help patients in our community who are dealing with cancer.

According to Collins, often during treatment, many patients may lose their insurance or face other financial toxicity issues like being unable to work, which makes nausea and pain medications very difficult to afford.

The Cancer Care Fund is designed to help offset the cost of these medications.

As patients visit the Hendrick Cancer Center/Solari Radiation Therapy Center daily for chemotherapy and/or radiation services the distance a patient travels can become costly; this fund can also assist with these travel expenses.

Each case is thoroughly evaluated by the cancer care team, to determine exactly what assistance is needed, and if the Cancer Patient Care Fund is an appropriate resource.

Support for the Cancer Care Fund can give these patients a hand, and also give them peace of mind, knowing that the inability to cover these costs will not stand in the way of their treatment.

When a need is identified, patients are carefully screened by the oncology social worker and Director of Oncology to determine need and to assure that these funds are used in the way donors intended.  Our oncology social worker does extensive research to identify grants or other resources which may be available for the patient on top of looking at the Cancer Care Fund. 

If you are interested in donating to the VCU Health CMH Cancer Care Fund you can call (434) 447-0857 or visit

VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month for July 2020

Being nice is a habit that comes naturally to Ashton Carter, cardiac monitor tech at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

And when people say nice people finish last, just tell them they are wrong. Ashton finished first in voting for the July STAR Service Team Member of the Month at CMH.

Ashton was nominated by April Hayes and Tracy Evans in Acute Care for her kindness and professionalism.

A co-worker of Ashton said, “I was sitting one on one with a patient and she (Ashton) was the only person who checked on me and relieved me. She is always smiling and eager to help. If it’s a task she can do, she does it, or will find someone to help. She is a perfect representation of CMH.”

Mellisa A. Black DNP, RN, MS, CCRN, NE-BC, said, “Ashton is a role model for STAR Service. She is always ready to do whatever it takes to make sure our team and patients get the best care.”

Ashton moved from the CMH Family Dental Clinic to her current position as a cardiac monitor tech.  She made this move to pursue more education to reach her goal one day, which is to be a respiratory therapist.

“It is easier to work my class schedule around three 12-hour shifts,” she said with her ever-present smile. “But it (the new job) also proved to me that what I wanted to be really is a respiratory therapist.”

Originally from Buffalo Junction, Ashton has been at CMH for nearly two years. She and husband, Nick, are expecting a son in December.

Besides her STAR pin and award, Ashton gets a special parking tag that allows her to park wherever she chooses for the month of August and a $40 gift card.

Others nominated in July were Dr. Indu Shivaram from Pulmonology and Lyda Ingram, an Emergency Department tech.

Lee Recognized for Service on VCU Health CMH Board of Directors

John Lee (right) is pictured here receiving a plaque from W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, in appreciation for his nine years on the CMH Board of Directors.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital recently acknowledged John Lee’s three terms of service on the hospital’s board of directors, including the past year as board chairman. The hospital’s bylaws limit service on the Board to three consecutive terms and each term is for a three-year period.  W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health CMH, recognized Lee for volunteering his service to the organization and presented him with a commemorative crystal award at the board’s June meeting.

"As a member of the CMH Board of Directors, John has been a vital part of the many positive changes that have occurred at CMH over the past nine years.  From chairing the committee that led to our affiliation with VCU Health, to building a new hospital; John, among other dedicated members of the board, has helped lead the board through these grand achievements of our hospital.  We are fortunate to have people like John, that volunteer their time, and put tremendous effort into making our community a better place," said W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health CMH.

Lee commented on his tenure on the board, stating, “Serving on the VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital board of directors has been a highly gratifying and educational experience, and I am very proud to have been a part of the hospital’s considerable accomplishments in the past nine years. Our affiliation with VCU Health was a game changer for our hospital and the quality of care offered to this region, and the board’s efforts to seek out and secure an affiliate was challenging work, but in the end incredibly gratifying, especially now after they have proven themselves to be worthy partners, time and time again.”

VCU Health CMH is a community-owned nonprofit hospital providing health services for the south-central region of Virginia and portions of northern North Carolina, offering quality, state-of-the-art health care in a safe, convenient, patient friendly environment. Since 1954, the hospital’s employees, physicians, volunteers and board of directors have supported the organization’s mission of providing excellence in the delivery of health care.

Today, VCU Health CMH has a new hospital with 70 private patient rooms and a long term care facility with an additional 140 beds, providing a wide array of in-patient services, including acute care and long-term care along with many outpatient programs such as home health, hospice and many others. Since its inception, the hospital has grown to be one of the area’s largest employers with more than 800 employees, more than 100 volunteers and 177 providers, representing 26 medical specialties, on staff.

“It’s been and honor and privilege to serve on the board and to work with my fellow directors and Scott and his capable team at the hospital. All of them are highly dedicated and work diligently to provide high quality health care, with desirable options, at a contemporary, state of the art facility…I’d say we’re doing all that successfully. Serving our community on the VCU Health CMH board has been a great opportunity for me to give back to my community, and I wish them continued success,” Lee added.

Lee is President and CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative and EMPOWER Broadband, Inc. in Chase City. Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) proudly powers over 31,000 homes, farms and businesses in the counties of Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania, Southampton, and Sussex in Virginia and portions of Granville, Northampton, Person, Vance, and Warren counties in North Carolina.  It is headquartered in Chase City and has district offices in Chase City, VA, Emporia, VA, Gretna, VA, and Bracey, VA.

VCU Health CMH Announces New Board Directors & Officers


Cindy Pecht  (left) was first appointed to the CMH Board in 2002.  She is a past Vice-Chairman and past Treasurer of the Board, and serves on a number of hospital committees, including three at VCU Health System in Richmond.  Cindy resides in Lawrenceville, VA, where she is a fourth-generation beer wholesaler and owner of Pecht Distributors, Inc.  Pecht currently serves as Chairman of the Lawrenceville Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals.  She is also active in the Lawrenceville Rotary Club and Brunswick Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Cathy Palmer (below left)is a Pathologist and since 2003 has been the Laboratory Medical Director at CMH.  She joined the Pathology Department at VCU as Assistant Professor in 2016.  She attended medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine and did her Anatomic and Clinical Pathology residency at VCU, finishing in 2000.  She has previously held the position as the Director of Medical Affairs at CMH and is currently involved in leadership of the medical staff at CMH including work with Medical Staff Quality Improvement, Grand Rounds (Continuing Medical Education), Tumor Board (Multidisciplinary Cancer Conference), and as Chair of CMH Credentials Committee.  Outside of VCU Health CMH, she is the Regional Commissioner, and Virginia Assigning Commissioner for the College of American Pathologists, for laboratory accreditation.  

Don Bright (below right) is the President at Meherrin River Forest Products in Alberta Virginia.  He has held this position since 2011.  He is also a graduate of Virginia Tech University.











VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill is pleased to announce the newest members of the CMH Board of Directors. Governed by 10 citizens of its service area and four representatives of VCU Health, the 14-member board of directors is comprised of both medical and non-medical individuals representing a wide array of businesses and professions. These dedicated volunteers along with VCU Health and CMH Administration share a fundamental belief that local communities are in the best position to identify and meet local health care needs.  

The CMH Board of Directors represent our service areas of Brunswick, Lunenburg, and Mecklenburg counties.  In general, each member serves three consecutive three-year terms; however, there is a provision for them to serve longer when necessary.  The Board sets policy, oversees the financial well being of the hospital and is responsible for long-range planning.  In addition and most importantly, the Board is responsible for oversight of the quality, safety and service levels that patients receive at CMH and for approving the appointment of physicians and other licensed providers as members of the Medical Staff.   

New members joining the Board during the June meeting were:  Dr. Cathy Palmer, Pathologist and Laboratory Medical Director at VCU Health CMH and Don Bright, President at Meherrin River Forest Products.    

The officers of the CMH Board of Directors for this year are:  Chairman, Ms. Cindy H. Pecht representing Brunswick; Vice-Chairman, Mr. William E. “Billy” Wells, Jr. representing Mecklenburg; Treasurer, Mr. Jay Stafford representing Lunenburg, and Secretary, Mr. Paul Neimeyer with VCU Health. 

“The Board is committed to continuing and expanding the availability of quality health care services in the region.  We deeply appreciate the wonderful people who make VCU Health CMH a great hospital, and we are grateful for the strong support CMH receives from the VCU Health System in Richmond.,” said Chairman Pecht. 

Other Board Members include: Clint Clary representing Brunswick; Cecil Shell representing Lunenburg; Kendele Underwood and Billy Wilkinson representing Mecklenburg; and Mr. Ron Clark, Dr. David Chelmow, Ms. Melinda Hancock and Dr. Tom Yackel representing VCU Health.  Legal Counsel is provided by Mr. Paul Neimeyer with VCU Health; Dr. Desi Rimon represents the CMH medical staff as the Chief of Staff and Kenny Pitts represents the CMH Auxiliary as the Auxiliary President. 

The CMH Board of Directors volunteer their time and expertise to assure that our community, nonprofit hospital remains on a strong course for the future.  These Directors generously give of themselves, their time, experience and skills and in turn to their community to ensure that VCU Health CMH continues to enhance the health and well-being of the citizens of Southside Virginia and Northern North Carolina. 

Pecht also stated, “We are in the midst of what is certainly one of the most challenging times in our hospital’s 66-year history.  It is truly awe-inspiring to see the dedication and bravery shown by the medical staff, senior leadership team, and each and every employee of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital as they protect and provide care for the community during a pandemic.  I am humbled to serve as Chairman of the Board of this extraordinary organization.”

Dr. Darrell Brown Joins VCU Health CMH

Darrell Brown, MD, FACOG

South Hill – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill would like to welcome Dr. Darrell Brown to our family of health care providers.  Dr. Brown specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Brown is a Board Certified OB/GYN who has devoted his career to providing the best and most complete OB/GYN care for his patients for more than 28 years. He earned a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from St. Georges University School of Medicine, located in Grenada, West Indies and completed his residency training at multiple locations including Jersey City Medical Center located in Jersey City, New Jersey; Sinai Samaritan Medical Center located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and The Stamford Hospital located in Stamford, Connecticut. 

Dr. Brown most recently worked as an OB/GYN for Ashley Women’s Services in Crossett, Arkansas and at the Northern Hospital of Surry County in Mount Airy, North Carolina.  He also has many years of teaching experience, the last two years as an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University.

Dr. Brown is currently working at CMH Women’s Health Services located inside the new C.A.R.E. Building, 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill.  He is accepting new patients; to schedule an appointment call (434) 584-2273 (CARE).

Dr. Brown joins Dr. Ramesh Seeras, OB/GYN and Terry Wooten, Certified Nurse-Midwife, to provide a complete range of personalized and preventive gynecologic care to women at every stage of life.  Throughout pregnancy, you’ll receive excellent prenatal care from this team of providers.  To view a full list of services visit:

Therapy Dog Program Seeking Volunteers

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital is seeking volunteers with friendly and well-behaved dogs to participate in a program that aims to bring cheer to hospital patients, visitors and staff.

The Dogs On Call Therapy Dog Program provides complementary therapy to enhance the well-being of patients, staff, and students through canine-assisted interventions.  The dog and handler would visit patients that requested to have a visit and visit hospital departments to lift spirits of staff.

If you have a dog that would be a good fit for this program and would like to learn more about volunteering as a Dogs On Call team, please call 434-584-5411.

VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month for May 2020

Photo Caption: (Left to Right) W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital presented Dr. Indu Shivaram, the VCU Health CMH STAR Service Team Member of the Month Award for May.  There to congratulate Dr. Shivaram was Dr. Ikenna Ibe, Vice President of Medical Affairs & Chief Medical Officer and Dr. Brenda Palmore, Vice President of Practice Management & Business Development.

Dr. Shivaram has been employed at VCU Health CMH for two years.  As VCU Health CMH's pulmonologist she helps patients with various pulmonary issues and is a vital part of the CMH family of physicians.  The nomination form submitted on her behalf by Mellisa Black, Director of Acute Care Nursing, stated, “Since COVID-19 began, Dr. Shivaram has shown the ICU how much she cares about our team and our patients through her words and actions.  She has consistently provided us with current, evolving information and guidance on caring for our COVID patients.  This has encouraged us to work together as a team to achieve optimal patient outcomes, which is our optimal goal.”

When asked what words of wisdom she would give other employees, Dr. Shivaram stated, “When working as a team, always be there for one another.”  She also said, "I'm proud to provide care to patients here at VCU Health CMH.  We have a small well ran hospital offering some of the best treatment options in a rural setting."  

In addition to the “star” award, Dr. Shivaram received a STAR Service lapel pin, letter of commendation from Administration, a $40 gift certificate, and a parking place of her choice for the month.

Dr. Shivaram currently resides in South Hill, VA.

Surviving COVID-19

Bonnie and Donald Johnston, photographed together on the front porch of their home in La Crosse, Virginia.

In early March, many Americans started hearing more about a novel Coronavirus also known as COVID-19 that was spreading like wildfire across our nation.  Most people didn’t know a lot about this virus and wondered if it would even reach the local people of rural Southside Virginia. 

On March 23rd, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital admitted the hospital’s first COVID-19 patient; and that patient was La Crosse resident Donald Johnston.  Donald had been fighting a high fever for a few days and decided to make a trip to his primary care physician to get checked out.  During his check-up he was instructed to go to the VCU Health CMH emergency room and get tested for COVID-19; that test would come back positive.

In an interview with Donald, he stated that at this point he didn’t know how sick he really was or the fight he was about to begin.  That fight, would be a fight for his life.

Donald was transported and quarantined in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where CMH doctors and nurses cared for him.  Because of the COVID-19 restrictions, Donald was not allowed any visitors, not even his wife, Bonnie. 

“Every day I felt helpless as I wasn’t able to see him.  We tried to talk on the phone, but Donnie could hardly breathe,” said Bonnie.  “On the 10th of April, my daughter Crystal and I had a video chat with Donnie’s doctor in the ICU.  We were told to prepare for the worst.  I remember that night, not being able to sleep as I kept thinking what am I going to write for Donnie’s obituary.”

Donald would spend 14 days in the ICU. “I don’t remember much about being there.  But I do know that if it wasn’t for the doctors and nurses in the ICU, I wouldn’t be here today.  The doctors and nurses along with God saved my life.”

After leaving the ICU, Donald would be transported to a regular patient room as he was still recovering. Bonnie said, “At this point it was still hard to talk to Donnie, his doctors and nurses were my lifeline to him.  They would call me and keep me updated on how he was doing.  The communication was as good as I could have asked.  The hospital staff was truly wonderful to us.”

On the path to recovery, Donald would spend six more days in his patient room.  He had finally reached the point where he was COVID negative and could be transported to an isolation wing of the Hundley Center where he would start rehab.  Donald didn’t know that the CMH staff had a surprise for him as he exited the hospital.

“When I came out of my room into the main hallway there were doctors and nurses lined all the way down cheering and clapping as I was being transported.  As I got further down the hallway I saw my wife for the first time in weeks.  It lit me right up; I was smiling from ear to ear, but she couldn’t see it because I was wearing a mask.  That was a memorable experience,” Donald said.

Donald would spend the next 24 days in an isolation wing of the Hundley Center.  His goal was to continue to recover and get stronger.  He worked with Hundley Center therapists on a set schedule to rehab his body since his illness had caused him to lose about 30 pounds since entering the hospital.  Donald said, “The Hundley Center staff was very professional.  I really looked forward to my time with the therapists and really enjoyed that experience, they were the best.”  Donald put in the rehab work needed to get stronger and now was finally healthy enough to go home and see his wife.

Donald said, “I had previously told the CMH staff while I was in the main hospital that I’m going to get home to my wife, I’m not dying here, I’m walking out of here.”  After a total of seven and a half weeks in the hospital and Hundley Center, that’s exactly what he did.

“I was discharged from the Hundley Center on May 14th at 11:30 AM.  I remember walking through the doors of the glass window corridor and everyone cheering as I walked down toward the exit.  I turned to the exit door and my wife was right there.  I know I hugged her for at least two minutes.  It’s something I will never forget,” said Donald.

Bonnie said, “It is truly a miracle that Donnie’s still here with me.  I hope the CMH doctors and nurses know how appreciative we are for saving his life.  I don’t think he could have been in a better place than CMH.”

“I’m feeling good and getting better day by day,” Donnie said. “I work in the yard and stay as active as I can.  To survive COVID at the age of 79, I thank Jesus every day.”

CMH Family Dental Clinic Update

In-person clinic visits are now an option again at the CMH Family Dental Clinic of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.  Established patients are welcomed back for all their routine dental care to include dental x-rays, six month check ups and cleanings, fillings, root canals, crowns and surgical procedures.  The dental clinic will begin to welcome new patients as well.

To ensure your safety, appointment times and schedules have been modified to allow dental clinic staff to follow infection control practices recommended by the CDC and State Medical and Dental authorities.  Some of these modifications include:  allowing more time for cleaning in between patients; more detailed patient screening; social distancing practices; more frequent hand washing; and wearing masks. 

There is a temporary hold on procedures that create air mist and aerosols, and the dental clinic is using only hand instruments and avoiding any motorized instruments. 

CMH Family Dental Clinic dentist, Dr. Natasha Grover stated, "While we appreciate everybody's patience while waiting to get scheduled, our established patients are the highest priority for scheduling. We encourage any existing patient to call us if they feel they need to be seen and we will move up their appointment so that their needs are met. We are following strict infection control and personal protective equipment (PPE) recommendations and will introduce more safety protocols as they become available to us."

The dental clinic has been open through this pandemic and remains available for all urgent care and emergent care for anyone, especially if they have severe dental pain, swelling or dental abscess. The clinic's goal is to make sure that patients receive definitive treatment rather than have multiple visits to the Emergency Department.

"As always, we hope that everybody is safe and healthy and recommend regular daily home oral hygiene practices of flossing and brushing (adding the use of a Waterpik if you have the time) as the best means of preventing any new dental disease from forming or any existing dental disease from getting any worse," added Dr. Grover.

If you have any questions you can reach the CMH Family Dental Clinic by calling (434) 584-5590. 

VCU Health CMH Team Members of the Month for March and April 2020

VCU Health CMH Star Service Team Member of the Month for March - Molly Hatchel

It hasn’t taken Molly Hatchel long to find a home in the Intensive Care Unit at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

She has been there since last July, but already calls the ICU home and her fellow team members as family. Molly has been named the Star Service March Team Member of the Month for her work in the ICU.

A patient nominated Molly saying, “I was admitted on Tuesday, March 10th for being in A-fib (an irregular, often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow) with a very high heart rate and facing a cardioversion (a medical procedure by which an abnormally fast heart rate or other cardiac arrhythmia is converted to a normal rhythm using electricity or drugs). Molly’s sweet bedside manner and super patient helpfulness made a scary situation almost “fun”. One of the nicest nurses I have ever had and her simple explanation of procedures made them much less frightening.”

Mellisa Black, Nurse Manager for Critical Care, said, “Molly is a great example of a STAR Performer. She always gives great patient care combining the art and science of nursing. She was spot on in assessing what these patients needed and went above and beyond to give that special care.”

Molly is a graduate of Southside Virginia Community College’s nursing program and is currently working on her bachelor’s degree in nursing.   Originally from California, Molly lived in La Crosse since she was six years old before moving with her husband of one and a half years, David Bradley, to South Hill. Molly and David are expecting a little girl, Callie Mae Hatchel, later this year.

Molly said, “I did my internship here and it feels like coming home coming to work here. CMH is a big family. It feels great to feel appreciated and noticed for my work.”

Other team members nominated in March were: Kayla Franck, Nickey Powell and Hillary Tackett from the ICU; Sue Gayce from Registration; Rose Walker and John Watson from Physical Therapy; Vickie Kwasny of FANS and Dr. Ingrid Vaughan of Anesthesiology.

For being named a Team Member of the Month, Molly will get a special parking permit allowing her to park in certain places closer to the building and a $40 Amazon Gift Card.

VCU Health CMH Star Service Team Member of the Month for April - Dr. Seeras

Going above and beyond is pretty much the definition of being a STAR Performer at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

Evidently Dr. Ramesh Seeras has been studying the dictionary his entire career.

Dr. Seeras was nominated by the Garland Birthing Center labor and delivery nurses for Star Service Team Member of the Month and is the April winner.

In their nomination, the nursing staff said, “Dr. Seeras has handled the stress of the recent high demands of our unit with grace and charisma. No matter the circumstances, he is always a gentleman to the staff and patients. For example, a procedure needed to be done for an infant before discharge, there was not a provider on call to perform this procedure.  Having the infant come back as an outpatient would increase the risks for exposure during this pandemic. A nurse called Dr. Seeras to advocate for this patient. He responded with positivity even though he was not on call. He came in with a smile and did what was in the best interest for the patient. He always goes above and beyond for patient safety and satisfaction.”

On being chosen at Team Member of the Month, Dr. Seeras said, “I am very happy to be named the Team Member of the month. It is always good to feel appreciated. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for entrusting me with their medical needs.”

What Dr. Seeras likes most about CMH is:  “CMH functions as a big happy family of which I am proud to belong. I find that the level and quality of care provided in this institution is as good as if not better than many larger institutions that I have been affiliated with ( and there were many).

He continued, “At CMH we always strive to be the best advocate for our patients and their families. My wife and I have also received care at this institution and we are very appreciative of the friendly, safe and high level of care we received.”

Dr. Seeras is a Board-Certified OB/GYN who has devoted his career to providing the best and most complete OB/GYN care for his patients for more than 27 years. He earned a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and completed his residency training in obstetrics and gynecology also at the University of Saskatchewan. 

 Dr. Seeras came to South Hill from Illinois, where he has been in private practice since 1998 and served as Chief of the Department of OB/GYN at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, Ill. He is skilled in minimally invasive surgery including outpatient hysterectomy, pelvic prolapse and abnormal bleeding problems.  He also provides complete care for pregnant women including high risk prenatal care and delivery.

Others nominated in April were: Milagros Silverman from Acute Care and Christy Vaughn from EVS.

For being named a Team Member of the Month, Dr. Seeras will get a special parking permit allowing him to park in certain places closer to the building and a $40 Amazon Gift Card.


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