Collect Money Owed by Alecto

If they have not done so already, Wheeling officials should proceed with the utmost dispatch in collecting money owed to the city by Ohio Valley Medical Center and its California-based parent company, Alecto Healthcare Services.

OVMC owes the city more than $600,000 for which, we assume, Alecto is responsible. Because the firm plans to shut the hospital down on Oct. 7, collecting the money soon needs to be a priority.

Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron told our reporters OVMC is $47,893 in arrears for fire service fees and owes $368,000 for use of the city-owned Center Wheeling parking garage, plus $188,179 in overdue water bills.

Regarding a major source of income for the city, the business and occupation tax, Herron said he is prohibited by state law from discussing how OVMC stands. He added that OVMC is current on real estate taxes, which are collected by the county.

Municipal officials bent over backwards to help about two years ago, when OVMC was sold to Alecto. At the same time, the company bought East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry.

Though news of the planned shutdown came as a shock last week, it was not a surprise. OVMC and EORH were struggling when Alecto bought them.

In all likelihood, city officials have refrained from taking decisive action to collect money owed by OVMC out of a desire to help keep the facility afloat. No one likes to be told their insistence on payment of debts was the straw that broke a struggling business’ back. No such claim has been made by Alecto.

Now that the closure decision has been made, there is nothing to gain by holding back on debt collection efforts. Alecto owes the city a lot of money — and it is time to ensure payment in full is made.

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