PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — The Camden Clark Medical Center is taking steps to become the premiere health care provider in the region with the official groundbreaking of a new emergency department Monday.
Local dignitaries, doctors, nurses and people from around the community gathered outside the hospital behind Logan Memorial United Methodist Church to commemorate what officials described as “a rebirth of the organization.”
”It has been a great year for us,” said Camden Clark President and CEO David McClure. ”We have made a lot of changes and a lot of improvements and this is part of that.”
It was four years ago that Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital merged into the Camden Clark Medical Center under the West Virginia United Health System.
The purpose of that was to expand care and provide a variety of services as well as have a partner who could do things they were not able to do at the time to improve patient care. This included making updates to the center’s older North Tower facility updating the newer South Tower facility.
”This is the culmination of expanding our South Tower with a new emergency department and a new inpatient unit,” McClure said. ”We just continue to expand and renew ourselves.”
The hospital is constructing a 43-bed emergency department that will have a split-flow model where the most seriously ill patients will be cared for at the entrances for the ambulances, McClure said. The emergency department will have three new trauma rooms, a walk-in section for the high acuity patients and an ambulatory section.
On the floor above, the hospital will have a 30-bed inpatient unit that will connect to the South Tower so patients can be moved quickly to the operating rooms if they require immediate surgery, McClure said.
The $20 million project will encompass 63,000 square feet. The work is being done by local craftsmen and workers.
Parkersburg Mayor Jimmy Colombo talked about the community and the people who live here, invoking the theme of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood of “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”
”As you all know, this wonderful expansion is in our neighborhood,” he said. ”The future is wide open for everyone.”
Colombo reiterated his belief the proposed ethane cracker facility will be built in Wood County and having a medical center, like Camden Clark, makes the community more desirable for that facility to locate here and to bring in other businesses.
”The future of any area is based on health care,” the mayor said. ”We have to keep promoting that.
”This is our hospital and it is located in our community. It is here in the center of Parkersburg where 40,000 cars pass by everyday. We are very fortunate to have this hospital in this location here.”
Christopher C. Colenda, president and CEO of West Virginia United Health System, said this expansion was important to the region.
”This is a very competitive market,” he said. ”We are looking into recruitment of physicians and other types of programs to fill out the care capacity that will be found and anchored here at Camden Clark.
”The complement of facility investment and program investment is our commitment to this area. We are very excited about our investment here.”
Colenda discussed changes within the organization and how they will relate to what is happening at Camden Clark Medical Center.
He announced the organization was changing its name to “WVU Medicine.”
”We are at a critical threshold, in terms of our size and our geographic scope,” Colenda said. ”We wanted to have a common unifying approach across our hospitals and clinics.”
All of the facilities had their own unique approaches to how they were viewed, he said.
”We have reached that tipping point where we needed to have a common brand, but also to respect the local communities,” Colenda said.
Through marketing studies, they wanted to keep the new name simple, but identifiable across the state.
”Here that is ‘WVU Medicine – Camden Clark Medical Center’ so it respects both the local regional importance of care delivery, but gives us a common way of speaking with each other as a single brand,” Colenda said.
Officials said new signage will be put up around the medical center to reflect the change.
Last week, the medical center dedicated its new Heart Center and the unit’s three new catheterization labs in honor of those who played a key role in bringing cardiac services to the Mid-Ohio Valley.
The new facility helps facilitate the entire continuum of care for their cardiac patients from coming through the emergency department and getting to the catheterization lab in less than 90 minutes to the rehabilitation services provided after the acute care is done, McClure said.
”Going back to the consolidation of the two hospitals, we needed to have a very modern up-to-date and highly technical area for our cardiac patients,” he said. ”We came in and designed three new catheterization labs.
”We saw that many of our patients did not need catheterization, but needed cardiac testing so we expanded our non-evasive cardiac testing area. We started a pacemaker clinic, the only one in the Mid-Ohio Valley. We then went in and built a new operating room open-heart surgery suite, because we are the only open-heart surgery center in the Mid-Ohio Valley and we needed to make sure our patients were well cared for.”
The Heart Center’s three cath labs were dedicated to Michael A. Santer Jr., MD; M. David Avington, MD; and posthumously to Arthur A. Maher, the CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital for 20 years who passed away earlier this year. Plaques bearing the names of the three honorees were placed outside each of the cath labs.
”What all of this means to the community is you don’t have to leave the community for the majority of your care,” he said. ”What it also means is we are providing state-of-the-art, cutting edge cardiac care to our patient population.”
Early estimates have the new South Tower facility being completed by fall 2016, but McClure said it could be sooner.
”Our goal is to open the Emergency Department as soon as possible, even if we haven’t finished the inpatient unit,” he said. ”The contractors are telling me they would like to be under roof before the bad weather comes and do their remaining work inside with the ultimate goal of being done by next fall.”