• 59°

Local doctor to take over Aid clinic

AID – Residents could see River Valley Health System’s now-closed Aid clinic return to service as soon as September.

Friday, August 17, 2001

AID – Residents could see River Valley Health System’s now-closed Aid clinic return to service as soon as September.

"Dr. Tony Virgin will reopen the clinic as a medical office," said Bob Payne, court-appointed receiver at RVHS. "He’s already been given a key so he can get ready."

Payne made that announcement Thursday at the Lawrence County Commission meeting.

Commissioners hailed the reopening as good news in wake of the hospital’s closure seven months ago.

"We hope it can be up and running by Sept. 1," commission president Paul Herrell said. "There’s no doubt it’s needed."

During past operations, the Aid clinic posted a high of 60 patients in one day, Herrell added.

Commissioner George Patterson called the news outstanding.

"It makes medical help accessible to the people in that area again," Patterson said.

Awaiting licensure in Ohio, Dr. Virgin has finished his medical degree and will operate the medical office under a lease agreement that breaks it away from the former RVHS, Payne said.

Dr. Virgin could not be reached for comment before presstime.

Payne added that Dr. Virgin had talked with the physician who staffed the clinic previously, Dr. Burton Payne, but doesn’t think he will be returning. Another doctor he’s working with now could become involved, the receiver said.

The county had sought doctors and hospitals, while some also had approached the county, commissioners said. Hospitals weren’t interest, likely because the facility was small.

A lease with an option to buy is being finalized, but must be approved through the commission and Lawrence County Common Pleas Court, which is overseeing RVHS assets, Herrell said.

"The commission expects to approve the deal in writing next week," he said, adding that he believes the court will find it favorable, too.

"I think Dr. Virgin will do a good job of it," Herrell said. "He’s a doctor and dentist, too, and he may do both."

Payne said that once everything is finalized there will be an open house scheduled.

Meanwhile, commissioners are keeping their eyes on the still-closed hospital facility, negotiating for its reopening.

"The receiver has told us he’s expecting something in short order," Herrell said Thursday. "We’re exploring other areas and have gotten some interest in it."

There are at least three other groups looking, he said, adding that an announcement could come in a couple of weeks.