While WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital is now a part of the WVU Health System, it will retain its identity as a Catholic hospital. WVU and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston came to that agreement during the negotiations that brought the hospital officially into the system.
“The Catholic Church has centuries of experience and wisdom about how to conduct good health care,” the Most Rev. Mark Brennan, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, said when the agreement was announced last year. “It is encouraging that WVUHS recognizes that reality.”
Hospital CEO Douglass Harrison said keeping that Catholic identity was incredibly important to Brennan.
“The Bishop made it very, very clear to us on day one that I will entertain discussions with WVU Medicine, but it will remain a Catholic hospital,” Harrison said. “How do we accomplish that? There have been other examples of this across the country and so this Catholic identity agreement … he didn’t want this to just be a piece of paper. What are the teeth? So if something goes wrong down the road, what are the options of the Catholic church?”
Under the agreement, the diocese and WVU Health System entered a 50-year lease agreement for the hospital. Harrison said that, for any service Wheeling Hospital is unable to provide a patient, that patient would be referred to another local hospital within the WVU Health System to see that service rendered. That already is happening, Harrison said.