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March 22, 2013

Suit challenging Bealeton nursing home dropped

Illustration/Medical Facilities of America
Medical Facilities of America has a state certificate to build a 90-bed nursing home in Bealeton.
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A planned nursing home in Bealeton moved a step closer to reality this week.

Fauquier Health’s board of directors voted Thursday to withdraw its lawsuit challenging the state Certificate of Public Need granted last year to Medical Facilities of America in Roanoke.

Former Virginia Health Commissioner Karen Remley granted the certificate for a 90-bed nursing home on May 17.

The same day, she denied Fauquier Health’s application for a certificate to build a 64-bed nursing home in Bealeton. The local, non-profit health care system, which owns Fauquier Hospital, planned the nursing home in Mintbrook, a mixed-use development at Routes 17 and 28.

In July, Fauquier Health Senior Living Inc. filed suit, challenging the health commissioner’s decisions.

Judge Mary Grace scheduled a hearing in the lawsuit — transferred from Fauquier County Circuit Court to Prince William — for Tuesday, March 26.

But, Fauquier Health has shifted its strategy toward “supporting home-based care” rather than building a second nursing home, Vice President Mary Smith said.

“We have two excellent facilities that do a wonderful job of providing for our county’s continuum of care – Fauquier Health Rehabilitation & Nursing Center and The Villa at Suffield Meadows assisted living,” Ms. Smith said in a statement released Thursday. “But as we look to the future, we see that baby boomers are looking for ways to rehabilitate and age at home.

“Because of that, we will be putting our resources into helping our residents stay healthy and safe in their own homes longer. For instance, we are currently developing a telemonitoring program that allows healthcare professionals to monitor older residents through electronic communication. That’s why we are focused on facilitating home-based care, assisted by technology.”

Fauquier’s planning commission on Thursday, March 28, will conduct a public hearing on a special exception permit application from Medical Associates of America. The for-profit, family-owned corporation would need the permit to build the 73,000-square-foot nursing home on Route 28 (Catlett Road) about 1,000 feet west of Route 17.

The planning commission will make a recommendation to the board of supervisors, which has final authority.

Three of the five supervisors — Lee Sherbeyn (Cedar Run District), Chester Stribling (Lee District) and Chris Granger (Center District) — already have expressed support for the project.

MFA ultimately hopes to win state approval for an additional 30 beds, which would bring the total to 120, Vice President Bruce Hedrick said.

At that size, the nursing home would represent an $11 million investment, said Mr. Hedrick, whose company owns and operates 40 nursing homes in Virginia and North Carolina.

The Bealeton home would pay more than $150,000 annually in county taxes and provide more than 90 full- and part-time jobs, he said.

The company hopes to open the home by summer of 2014.

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