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WVU Medicine to Take Ownership Of Wetzel County Hospital

NEW MARTINSVILLE — Wetzel County Hospital has signed a letter of intent to join the West Virginia University Health System.

WVU Hospitals will file a Certificate of Need application with the West Virginia Health Care Authority seeking approval to operate the hospital.

A letter of intent to file the Certificate of Need application was received Friday by the West Virginia Health Care Authority. The letter was signed by Raymona Kinneberg, president of RK SB Health Care Consulting in Charleston, on behalf of Wetzel County Hospital Inc.

According to the letter of intent, the capital cost associated with the project is approximately $12.5 million.

“The project is expected to be complete within four months of Certificate of Need approval,” Kinneberg stated.

“We are happy to be partners with the WVU Health System,” said Lawrence Lemon, president of the Wetzel County Commission. “We look forward to being part of a landmark event that will impact the citizens of our county for generations to come.”

Wetzel County Hospital entered into a management agreement with WVU Hospitals on Oct. 1, 2018. Prior to that, it had been a clinical affiliate of the WVU Health System since 2016.

Under the terms of the management agreement, Dr. David Hess became CEO of Wetzel County Hospital. He also serves as president and CEO of WVU Medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Glen Dale.

“The county commissioners and the hospital trustees have supported and encouraged our partnership with the WVU Health System every step of the way, and for that, we thank them,” said George Friedline, chair of Wetzel County Hospital’s board of trustees. “To date, our relationship with the WVU Health System has been a win for our county’s residents, and we expect even greater wins for them in the form of greater access to specialized care as we become a full member of the system.”

Established in 1920, Wetzel County Hospital is a 58-bed facility that employs 235 people. It offers a variety of inpatient and outpatient services, including cardiopulmonary, emergency, general surgery, radiology and cardiac rehabilitation, physical, occupational and speech therapy.

“We are excited to officially take the next step toward bringing Wetzel County Hospital into the WVU Medicine family,” said Albert L. Wright Jr., president and CEO of the WVU Health System. “Everyone in Wetzel County — its residents, the county commissioners and the hospital’s employees — has supported this relationship and grown it into what it is today. We’re appreciative of that support and look forward to growing and strengthening our partnership in the future.”

The West Virginia University Health System, the state’s largest health system and largest private employer, is composed of 11 hospitals: its flagship hospital, J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown; Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg; Braxton County Memorial Hospital in Gassaway; Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg; Jackson General Hospital in Ripley; Jefferson Medical Center in Ranson; Potomac Valley Hospital in Keyser; Reynolds Memorial Hospital; St. Joseph’s Hospital in Buckhannon; Summersville Regional Medical Center and United Hospital Center in Bridgeport, W.Va.

It also provides management services to Wheeling Hospital, Harrison Community Hospital in Cadiz, Barnesville Hospital and Garrett Regional Medical Center in Oakland, Maryland.

The WVU Health System includes five institutes — the WVU Cancer Institute, WVU Critical Care and Trauma Institute, WVU Eye Institute, WVU Heart and Vascular Institute and the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute.

Meanwhile, officials at Uniontown Hospital in Fayette County, Pa., announced Monday morning that it has signed a letter of intent to join the West Virginia University Health System. Wright hinted at the Wetzel County Hospital acquisition during that announcement.

“I believe we are at 11 owned hospitals today,” he said Monday. “We have number 12 coming in, Wetzel County Hospital, this summer and Uniontown Hospital would be number 13. And those are fully owned and operated hospitals.”

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