Ohio Valley Health Services & Education Foundation Changes Name, Resets Focus in Wheeling

The Ohio Valley Health Services & Education Foundation has changed its name and its focus in preparation for OVHS&E’s sale to Alecto Healthcare Services.

Alecto, a for-profit firm based in Irvine, Calif., is in the process of buying Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling and East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry from OVHS&E. The hospitals’ sale is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

Currently, OVMC and EORH are nonprofit operations. However, after the sale is finalized, the new entity will be a for-profit venture.

In anticipation of that move, the OVHS&E Foundation has changed its name to River Valley Health Foundation Inc. and has revised its focus. Laurie Labishak remains the foundation’s executive director.

Explaining the necessity of the changes, Labishak said, “As a for-profit hospital, (Alecto) cannot accept funds from a nonprofit organization.”

As a result, she said, “The foundation has revised its 501(c)(3) status to be that of a private foundation. Our mission will be to support healthy living in the Ohio Valley.”

Labishak said the foundation plans to fulfill its mission by funding scholarships for individuals pursuing careers in health care, supporting continuing education for local health care professionals and through community health screenings, outreach and charity care.

“There will be a set application process in the future for grants from the new foundation,” she said.

Discussing the new focus, she said, “It truly broadens the scope of impact we can have on the community as a whole. The assets donated prior to the change are restricted for use as indicated by the original donors.”

Labishak said any new money raised through events and community appeals will be utilized for the foundation’s revised mission.

In the past, some funds generated by the former foundation were used for capital improvements and equipment purchases at OVMC and EORH.

However, “the foundation can no longer purchase anything that will become an asset of the hospitals,” Labishak said. “They (River Valley Health) can only support the community who uses the hospitals, either for care or employment. So we are focused on patients and employees (in the form of education) of the hospitals.”

In a similar move announced last month, OVMC auxiliary representative Elisabeth Slater said the group is separating from the hospital because of the pending sale. She said the auxiliary is in the process of incorporating as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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