Martinsville, Danville hospitals merging in effort to improve health care in Southside

Hospitals' CEOs hope unified hospital will help attract new doctors

DANVILLE – No longer will there be separate hospitals in Martinsville and Danville.

Instead, the two hospitals are becoming one, called SOVAH Health, with the hospitals acting as SOVAH Health's Danville and Martinsville campuses.

Both hospitals' CEOs believe having one unified hospital with two campuses, rather than two separate hospitals, will help attract doctors that can provide a higher quality of care or potentially new types of care that are not currently provided by the doctors already here.

"I think it portrays an image, we hope it portrays an image, of a more sophisticated health system where a specialist would say, 'Wow, this organization has great opportunity. I want to be part of it,'" said Danville Regional Medical Center CEO Alan Larson.

"When you're not feeling well, it's difficult to travel an hour outside the community. Your family finds it difficult to travel as well. So we think it's our privilege and our responsibility and really our commitment to bring that care close to home," said Memorial Hospital of Martinsville Henry County CEO Michael Ehrat.

Lifepoint Health currently owns the two hospitals and will continue that ownership by operating the new joint hospital.

"This is just a natural progression to more thoroughly integrate the two facilities. We think it's going to give us a larger footprint; make us stronger and more prepared for the future," Ehrat said.

Larson will serve as SOVAH Health's CEO and says patients of both hospitals have nothing to worry about.

"Monday morning, their physician's still going to be there to take care of them; the nurses are still here, hospitals are still here," Larson emphasized.

The merger is expected to take several months to complete.

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