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West Virginia Attorney General’s Office Looking Into Alecto Business Practices

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Attorney General’s Office is following up with requests to look into the business practices of Alecto Healthcare after closing two West Virginia hospitals, a spokesman said.

Gov. Jim Justice and a number of state lawmakers have asked Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to investigate after the company closed the Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling and Fairmont General Hospital in Marion County.

“We are following up on the governor’s request and will be happy to brief you further at the appropriate time,” said Curtis Johnson, spokesman for the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office, in response to the status of the request from state officials.

A message left at a number identified as Alecto’s corporate offices was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Justice said last September that since he heard about Alecto’s decision to close Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling, he has worked with WVU Medicine, Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., and community leaders to make sure that the Ohio Valley region will be able to maintain quality healthcare availability and to make sure as many jobs as possible are saved.

He was disappointed Alecto chose to end negotiations with WVU Medicine on the same day they announced the closing of the facility. He asked West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to look into any improprieties that Alecto has done or is doing that has caused West Virginians undue hardship.

In February, the West Virginia House of Delegates introduced and passed House Resolution 13, calling upon the Attorney General to investigate the business practices of Alecto and determine whether it has violated state laws.

Alecto closed the Ohio Valley Medical Center on Sept. 3, “leaving its employees and community fragmented,” the resolution said.

The resolution stated Alecto purchased Fairmont General Hospital in June 2014 for $15.3 million after that hospital went into bankruptcy with intentions of serving urgent needs to rural populations. Also, when Alecto showed interest in purchasing the assets of Fairmont General and taking over the operations of the hospital, it made a number of promises – and one of those was to continue with community-based health care in the Marion County region, the resolution said.

Alecto projected the hospital’s bottom line will improve from a $733,032 deficit during the first six months of 2014 to an $8.2 million profit in 2017, according to certificate of need documents filed with the West Virginia Health Care Authority.

Alecto abruptly announced the closure of Fairmont Regional Medical Center on Feb. 18 when some 600 physicians, nurses and other personnel were greeted with letters saying the hospital would be closing in 60 days, according to the resolution.

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