A few weeks before they break ground on a new building, officials of Preston Memorial Hospital announced Sept. 3 they had signed a letter of intent to become a member of the Mon Health System.
The action must be approved by the state Health Care Authority.
In addition to PMH, the Mon Health System is composed of Monongalia General Hospital, Mon HealthCare, Mon EMS and The Village at Heritage Point.
"We are very pleased to welcome Preston Memorial Hospital into the Mon Health System family," Glenn Adrian, chairman of Mon Health System board of directors, said in a prepared statement.
"Local patients will be the biggest beneficiaries of this affiliation. Many people are already patients of both hospitals," Adrian added. "Together PMH and MHS will be able to improve the coordination of care and high-quality services for patients, as well as provide streamlined communication regarding medical records and testing between facilities."
Preston Memorial officials said the deal also will aid in the financing and construction of the new hospital building about a mile from the existing facility in Kingwood. The new facility, which will replace the existing 60-year-old one, will be built next to Preston High School on land donated by the Preston County Commission.
Preston Memorial Hospital President and CEO Melissa Lockwood said the new hospital will have 83,500 square feet. It will have expanded space for family practice, cardiology, pulmonology and orthopedics service, among others.
Lockwood said the estimated cost of the new facility will be about $27 million, and an additional $11.5 million will be set aside for equipment upgrades, site preparation and other costs associated with the project.
Lockwood said groundbreaking on the new facility is expected this month with a projected completion date of March 2015.