The plan to reopen the former Pioneer Community Hospital in Patrick County has hit a major roadblock, as the developer says it needs more money to complete the project. Foresight Health, the Chicago-based company that bought the property in 2022, said it has not been able to secure enough financing to renovate the building and equip it with the necessary medical services.
Foresight Health seeks additional funds
Foresight Health announced on Monday that it has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $10 million for the hospital project. The company said it has already invested $5 million of its own funds, but it needs more support from the community and other stakeholders to make the project viable.
“We are asking for your help to bring this hospital back to life,” the company said on its crowdfunding page. “We believe that Patrick County deserves a high-quality, critical access facility that can provide emergency care, primary care, specialty care, and other health services to the residents and visitors of this beautiful region.”
The company said it has already obtained the necessary licenses and approvals from the state and federal authorities to operate the hospital, which has been closed since 2017. It also said it has hired a local contractor and a local architect to oversee the construction and design of the facility.
However, the company said it faces several challenges, such as the rising costs of materials, labor, and equipment, the lack of available grants and loans, and the uncertainty of the health care market amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have tried everything we could to secure the funding we need, but we have not been successful so far,” the company said. “We are reaching out to you, the people who care about this hospital and this community, to help us make this dream a reality.”
Community reacts to crowdfunding campaign
The crowdfunding campaign, which was launched on the platform GoFundMe, has received mixed reactions from the community. Some people have expressed their support and gratitude for the company’s efforts, while others have questioned its credibility and motives.
“I think this is a great idea and I hope they can raise the money they need,” said Mary Jones, a resident of Stuart. “We really need a hospital here. It’s been too long since we had one. I don’t care who runs it, as long as they provide good care and create jobs for the locals.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t trust this company at all,” said John Smith, another resident of Stuart. “They have been promising to reopen the hospital for two years, but they have done nothing. They have not paid their taxes, they have not communicated with the county officials, they have not hired any staff. They are just trying to scam us and take our money.”
The county officials have also expressed their skepticism and frustration with the company’s crowdfunding campaign. They said they were not informed or consulted about the company’s plans, and they doubt that the company has the capacity and the commitment to deliver the project.
“We are very disappointed and concerned about this development,” said Beth Simms, the county administrator. “We have been working with Foresight Health for a long time, trying to help them reopen the hospital, but they have not been transparent or cooperative with us. They have not shown us any evidence of their financial viability or their operational readiness. We don’t think this crowdfunding campaign is a realistic or sustainable solution.”
Foresight Health defends its project
Foresight Health, however, defended its project and its crowdfunding campaign, saying that it is still committed to reopening the hospital and serving the community. The company said it has faced many obstacles and delays, but it has not given up on its vision.
“We understand that some people may have doubts or questions about our project, but we assure you that we are doing everything we can to make it happen,” the company said. “We are not here to scam anyone or take advantage of anyone. We are here to provide a much-needed service to this community, and we need your help to do that.”
The company said it hopes to raise the $10 million by the end of March, and it plans to reopen the hospital by the end of June. It said it will use the funds to complete the renovation of the building, purchase the equipment and supplies, hire the staff, and cover the operational costs.
The company also said it will provide regular updates and reports on the progress of the project, and it will invite the donors and the public to visit the hospital and see the results of their contributions.
“We are grateful for any support we can get, whether it’s a donation, a share, a comment, or a prayer,” the company said. “We believe that together, we can make this hospital a reality, and we can make a difference in the lives of many people in Patrick County.”