Health center commission gives $500k for medical causes

The Louisa County Memorial Medical Service Center building in the town of Louisa. The Louisa County Health Center Commission gave the building to the county government in the fall of 2019.

The Louisa County Health Center Commission gave more than $500,000 in cash this week to the county government, the public schools and a nonprofit for medical uses.  

The group gave its main asset, the Louisa Memorial Medical Center building on Woolfolk Avenue in the town of Louisa, to the county in October 2019, but continued to hold cash for scholarships and other purposes related to its mission. That changed this week.

“There’s nothing for us to do anymore,” said Tom Filer, the commission’s chairman.

“The county shares our desire for more health care offerings in our community,” he said. “As Louisa continues to grow, we want to do our part to support their diligent efforts to attract and foster quality options for our citizens.” 

Of the $516,000 in assets, $200,000 will be reserved by the county economic development department to help attract an urgent care or another medical facility to locate in the county. Another $192,000 will go to the county’s general services division to maintain the medical center building, which houses the human services department, Region Ten staff and a doctor’s office.

The commission also gave $75,000 to the Louisa County Resource Council for dental vouchers for low-income residents, and $50,000 to Louisa County Public Schools to buy equipment for certified nursing assistant classes.

The commission was founded in 1975 to manage the medical center’s assets after it ended operations as a hospital. Over the years the group tried to attract doctors and specialists so residents would have access to local care. Some doctors kept part-time office hours in Louisa and maintained their primary offices in Charlottesville or Richmond.

“That model doesn’t work anymore,” said Filer. “You’re not going to find a doctor willing to come out to Louisa for a day. And you can jump in your car and drive to Zion Crossroads [to see someone].”

The commission provided a lower rent for medical offices than would have been available in the private market, Filer said.

The commission was appointed by the Louisa County Board of Supervisors but operated as a public charity. The decision to give the medical center building to the county in 2019 was contentious, leading to one commissioner to resign. Some commissioners felt the human services department was not sufficiently involved in medical services to justify its occupying most of the building.

Filer said the commission recommended that the group disband. The supervisors have to take action to discontinue the commission, but have not yet done so.

“The commission has taken our vital role in community health very seriously over the years,” said commission member Jeff Feagans. “I’m grateful to those who have worked so hard to maintain the facility and meet the needs of our citizens.”

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