Sentara won't close neonatal ICU at Beach General

Vicky Graves, vice president system development for Sentara Healthcare, said today that there'd never been any plans to close the neonatal intensive care unit at Sentara Virginia Beach General.

She made the statement 3 days after a Virginia News Source story reported that, in addition to downgrading Beach General's trauma care center and discontinuing delivery of indigent mothers, Sentara planned to close the neonatal center.

Graves said, "There was never any intention to close the NICU."

Asked if the question of closing the center had ever come up, she said, "Yes,"  It had been raised because the perinatologists practice had lost 3 doctors recently causing their cases to be moved to Sentara Norfolk General from Virginia Beach.

That caused a reduction in volume and she said she guessed it caused some people to jump to false conclusions that the reduction in volume equated to elimination of the service.

Sentara has come under considerable negative attack lately after its previous two actions downgrading medical service at the beach facility.

Gray said Sentara is engaged in ongoing discussion with city officials and others about the declining medical care in Virginia Beach.