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Culpeper Regional Health System delivers extraordinary care

Mary Jane Glass, a local legend and many times recognized super woman in Culpeper, has told the story about the beginning of the Culpeper Memorial Hospital, now Culpeper Regional Health System. Mrs. Glass was among the “Jaycee Auxiliary” that pioneered the beginning of what is now a significant economic driver in our region. The initiative for a hospital was visionary and has an ongoing role in our regional success.

What does the Culpeper Regional Health System (CRHS) mean to our local economy?

I met with Lee Kirk the President & CEO of the Health System to discuss this question. Mr. Kirk has an exceptional view of the Health Care Industry with a passion to deliver the famous CRH 4 C’s ― Care, Competence, Compassion, & Courtesy to Culpeper and the surrounding region.

Healthcare is a hot topic today with the media focus on the recent passage of the Affordable Care Act. Though this is a polarized and political topic, there are unmistakable challenges and opportunities that we face as a community. First, the fact that we have a local health system is great. Second, that it is community focused is powerful. Third, that we have access to leading technology and research is an ongoing catalyst to progress.

As most are aware, Culpeper Regional Hospital is now in partnership with the University of Virginia Health System. The resources, talent, and influence offered in this partnership fuels enormous opportunity for Culpeper Regional Hospital. For example, the Radiation Oncology Center that was opened in March 2011 has enabled regional cancer patients access to some of the latest technology and world class talent. The technology to send scanned images of cancer patients to the team of doctors at UVA, allows patients to have an entire team of experts working on solutions in almost real time sharing enormous data files. The data pipeline that has been laid between Culpeper and Charlottesville has enabled such advanced technology and sharing. Our strength in telecommunications married with the new partnerships in medicine allows a superior care for CRH patients.

In addition, as a result of our local technological strengths, Culpeper Regional Health System is leading the way in paperless patient care. The focus in the health care industry has been to migrate to digital medical records as a means to improve care and advance preventative care. With the recent Culpeper Regional Hospital’s anticipated certification in 2012 as meeting electronic standards for “Meaningful Use” and adoption of the UVA system for digital medical records (EPIC) within the eight Culpeper Medical Associates practices (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics), the Culpeper medical community is well on the way to having state of art electronic records to enhance quality and efficient care.

Culpeper Regional Health System is led by strong community involvement. There are over 100 volunteers integrated into the committees and boards that run our local health system with the majority of the hospital owned locally and the other portion owned by the UVA Health System, they are very focused on serving the local community. As with any health system, there is a constant challenge to deliver care and balance the books. And yet, CRHS is conservative with dollars, and generous with community support. The scale of Culpeper allows us to have a tight knit fabric of integrated care in the region.

Culpeper Regional Health System is the second largest employer in Culpeper with over 900 employees. Our local high school and Germanna Community College are in partnership with CRHS to facilitate a pipeline of jobs for our students and new career seekers. In addition, the growth in doctors in our community is projected to continue as a result of the partnership with the University of Virginia Health System.

What do employers both large and small look for when locating a business? Yes, the school system is a big part of it. However, with the aging workforce, extended retirements, and second careers after a “first” retirement, the need for quality health care is at the top of the list. It is easy to take for granted the quality of life that we have in Culpeper. We have had a hospital for over 52 years. This, while enjoying the rural agricultural charm coexisting with savvy manufacturing on the stage of global business.

We have the best opportunity to advance real solutions in healthcare here in Culpeper. There is a shift occurring from episodic care to preventative care and proactive care for people with chronic illness. It takes a community with infrastructure, talent, and resources to get this job done.

Is there a better place on earth to see this achieved than right here in Culpeper? It is happening here and now, due to the leadership of the many members of the community, CRH associates, and the many volunteers that offer their time and energy in making our community a great place.

Compassionate people and extraordinary care drives our economy in very real ways through the dedicated resources of the Culpeper Regional Health System. As Lee Kirk says ― we have great gCommunitynessh in the Culpeper region.

Jim Charapich is the CEO and President of the Culpeper Chamber of Commerce. You may reach him at jimc@culpeperchamber.com or 540-825-8628
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