Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - CMH Awarded Tobacco Commission Grant

Community Memorial Healthcenter (CMH) announced this week that it has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Revitalization Commission (the “Tobacco Commission”) to help complete the construction of a $5 million radiation therapy facility in South Hill. The award was approved under Special Projects Funding at the September Tobacco Commission Meeting held in Wytheville, Virginia. The radiation therapy facility will be connected to CMH’s existing medical oncology center and will provide residents in the CMH service area access to comprehensive cancer care services in one convenient location. CMH is partnering with Virginia Commonwealth University Health Systems (VCUHS) in a 50/50 joint venture to build and operate the facility. Each will contribute $2.5 million to build the facility. The radiation therapy facility is the first phase of a $19 million expansion project that CMH has planned to improve access to health care for the region. As a sole community hospital, operating funds are not sufficient to finance a project of this scale; therefore the hospital launched a Capital Campaign in July 2011 to raise funds to benefit the expansion. Scott Burnette, CMH President and CEO said, “We are very grateful for this funding from the Tobacco Commission. It will help CMH so much in its part of the radiation facility construction costs and allow us to use other donated funds towards other portions of the expansion project. The radiation facility will provide complete cancer care for patients in our area and will also provide access to the latest clinical trials in cancer research through VCU Massey Cancer Center.” In the first year of the facility’s operation, CMH estimates that 120 patients from several tobacco region localities in CMH’s service area will receive 3000 treatments at the facility, increasing to at least 5,750 treatments for 230 patients by year three. Patients will have access to the latest cancer clinical trials through Massey, one of only two cancer centers in Virginia with National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designation. It also has the additional attribute of the creation of six new higher paying jobs in the area. Construction of the radiation therapy facility began in September and is expected to be completed in the spring of 2013. Senator Frank Ruff, Vice-Chairman of the Tobacco Commission and who represents the 15th Senate District remarked, “I am delighted that the Tobacco Commission understands the service that Community Memorial Healthcenter provides to the Mecklenburg, Lunenburg, Brunswick area and was willing to assist them in this endeavor. Clearly, our area currently lacks needed services for those families who have been touched by cancer." The Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission is a 31-member body created by the 1999 General Assembly to promote economic growth and development in tobacco-dependent communities, using proceeds of the national tobacco settlement. To date, the Commission has awarded 1,531 grants totaling more than $899 million across the tobacco region of the Commonwealth, and has made available nearly $309 million in indemnification payments to tobacco growers and quota holders. For information on the Commission's history, mission, funding programs and recent grant awards, visit our website at or call toll free 877-807-1086. PHOTO CAPTION: Cindy Thomas, member of The Virginia Tobacco Commission makes grant presentation to Scott Burnette, President/CEO of Community Memorial Healthcenter.