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WVU link to mean updates for Glen Dale hospital

GLEN DALE, W.Va. — A month after officials announced Reynolds Memorial Hospital would join the West Virginia University Health System, staff members are preparing for job creation and more than $20 million in updates within the next few years.

Leaders at the Marshall County facility announced their intentions to become the eighth hospital to join the WVU Medicine family. That partnership recently became official.

The WVU Health System, anchored by Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, is a statewide health system including seven hospitals with 1,450 licensed beds, 12,000 employees, 900 active medical staff and 18 related organizations.

In addition to Ruby Memorial, other West Virginia United Health System member hospitals in the state include United Hospital Center in Bridgeport, Potomac Valley Hospital in Keyser, Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg, Jefferson Medical Center in Ranson and Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg. It also operates Garrett Regional Medical Center in Oakland, Md.

In late September, the Marshall County Board of Education began a partnership with the hospital to meet the requirements of the hospital’s $15 million acquisition, approving a request for the hospital to establish a helicopter pad at the northeast end of John Marshall High School’s parking lot, near the tennis courts.

According to Kevin Britt, vice president and chief operating officer at Reynolds, the new relationship will mean several new departments and services.

“WVU’s contention is that West Virginians need to be cared for in West Virginia. If you look at the patient data from the (Northern Panhandle), there’s a lot of what we call ‘leakage’ or ‘migration.’ A lot of patients are going to Cleveland, Columbus and Pittsburgh,” Britt said. “WVU’s thought is that they need to be coming to Morgantown for the care they can’t receive here.”

Britt added WVU will implement its “signature services” in Glen Dale, the first being a heart and cardiovascular institute. The second signature service implemented will be an extension of the WVU Cancer Institute, which Britt said will be the first cancer treatment facility in Marshall County.

“This will be increased job security for our 425 employees and an ability to grow job opportunities. For the cancer center, we’re looking at the addition of eight to 10 jobs,” he said. “Construction for the cancer center started Sept. 26 in a building right behind the hospital and is scheduled for completion in late February of 2017, so this is well on its way.”

Britt said a $20 million update to the hospital, known as the surgical pavilion project, is awaiting approval from the state Health Care Authority in Charleston. The project will include demolition of the former nursing school building and the addition of a new main lobby and hospital entrance.

“WVU wants us to be very attractive to surgeons. Our current five operating rooms are not state of the art and are 60 years old. While they’re functional and perfectly fine, WVU wants us to replace them,” Britt said. “This will add 34,000 (square) feet of new construction connected to the hospital such that it would be very convenient for outpatient surgery cases which will represent the majority, but will also serve inpatient surgeries.”

Shelley Snyder, radiology manager at Reynolds Memorial, said the partnership will be beneficial for area residents.

“The news was very exciting,” Snyder said.  “A lot of patients will now be able to stay local and we can often more procedures for that to continue.”

See more from The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register. 

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