COLUMN — Loss of Family Medicine would have far-reaching effects
Our little rural community was rocked late last week when we learned of Sentra’s plans to close Buckingham Family Medicine at the end of October.
Many emotions from disbelief to sadness to anger swirled throughout the area, and all three emotions were certainly justified.
Buckingham County has depended on this practice since July 1980. They have provided unfailing medical service for 40 years. There have been several primary care physicians and nurse practitioners who have been the mainstay of health care in our community for three generations and in some cases four generations of our residents. They have treated their patients not only with excellent medical care, but also with respect and consideration for our well-being.
This practice has sent countless patients to Sentara Martha Jefferson for many types of diagnostic testing, specialists, and surgeons. Many of these people have been hospitalized in that facility for both minor and major illnesses and all of these brought an untold amount of revenue to Sentara/MJH. This certainly needs to be a large part of the picture if they feel the practice does not generate enough money. It is my hope they will take everything into consideration before making this decision, which will have far-reaching effects all throughout Buckingham and the surrounding counties. Many of our residents are older people who have to rely on a relative or a neighbor to take them to their medical appointments, and the possibility of having to travel a good bit further to see their physician is a very big burden.
There are petitions being circulated as well as many phone calls being made. I believe the Board of Supervisors is planning to meet with Sentara very soon. There will be a “March for Medical Care” on Sunday, Sept. 20, from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m. with parking in Dillwyn and walking to Buckingham Family Medicine. There will be a book to sign in the parking lot at Reid’s Supermarket. Even if you have signed a petition, please show up and offer your support.
This is a very critical time for all of us as the threat of losing our medical facility is very real. Show up, stand up, speak up and let us try to convince Sentara we count here in Buckingham just as much as their other facilities.
Faye Shumaker is the past president of the Buckingham County Chamber of Commerce and a past member of the Buckingham County School Board. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.