Health Care Options Also Available in Rural Areas


Staff Writer

CADIZ — When many people in the immediate area get sick or need medical advice, their first instinct is may be to visit their local hospital, such as Wheeling Hospital or Ohio Valley Medical Center.

But for residents in more rural areas, there are other valuable health care options.

Much of Harrison County is rural, but it isn’t without health care choices. Residents with sickness, injury or other health-related issues can go to Harrison Community Hospital, which is now owned by Wheeling Hospital. Although somewhat smaller than its sister facility, with only 25 beds, HCH still strives to serve the people of Harrison County. With the purchase by Wheeling Hospital, the smaller facility now has the benefit of Wheeling Hospital’s greater resources, which include more specialists, access to better equipment and more. John DeBlasis, vice president of Wheeling Hospital, serves as the director at Harrison Community Hospital. He has said he believes the transition helps the facility to better serve the people of Harrison County.

“When you go somewhere as a patient, you expect a certain level of care, professionalism,” DeBlasis said. “And from my perspective the bar has been raised out here at Harrison to exceed that expectation.”

Also working to promote the health and welfare of Harrison County residents are employees at the Harrison County Health Department. As stated on its official Facebook page, “the Harrison County Health Department aims to contribute to the health and well being of the residents of Harrison County through the prevention and control of disease and by promoting a healthy environment.”

Administrator Garen Rhome and employees help tend to the needs of friends and neighbors in the area, but many might not even think about the department as a resource. The organization offers a wide variety of services to residents of the area, including flu vaccine and other immunizations — an invaluable service, especially during flu season — as well as educational classes on nursing and other health-related topics, so that residents can learn a little bit about taking better care of themselves. The department also helps residents obtain birth and death certificates as needed, an important task considering how important the documents can be in filing paperwork for various purposes. In addition, the department also works to release information on county-wide health issues, including boil orders, disease outbreaks and more.

For example, over the summer the department released information on the growing number of cases of Lyme disease in the county, helping make residents aware of the situation and giving advice on how to help prevent catching the disease. This shows that the Harrison County Health Department is a valuable heath care and education resource for both the county and the residents who live within it.