Digital Exclusive: Full Interview; Wheeling Hospital CEO speaks out

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WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Less than two months after being named Wheeling Hospital’s CEO, Doug Harrison is already facing a healthcare crisis.

However, it is not within his own hospital. Ohio Valley Medical Center and East Ohio Regional Hospital are currently facing closures in October.

Although the loss of OVMC and EORH will be hard for everyone, Harrison does fear one missing component.

“The real need is the psychiatric piece and what we’re going to do to address that,” said Harrison.

And if that piece doesn’t get corrected, Harrison fears it would create a crisis.

“You think that wait times are bad now, try being inundated with behavioral health psych patients that you can’t disposition, you can’t move anywhere, and they will linger in there for hours if not days,” said Harrison.

There is good news on the horizon, however.

In his few weeks on the job, Harrison has already noticed and acknowledged some problems within Wheeling Hospital.

Harrison plans to address long ER times by opening satellite or off-site urgent care facilities.

“I would hope that we can have something up and running in the next 120-180 days,” said Harrison.

More than 120 displaced hospital employees have applied to Wheeling Hospital but Harrison is still hopeful for EORH.

“That’s a good little hospital over there,” said Harrison. “And I think at the end of the day, the State of Ohio might intervene on something to keep that hospital open.”

Harrison says WVU Medicine, who currently operates Wheeling Hospital, will not buy OVMC.

However, Harrison did admit there may be interest once the lawsuit against Wheeling Hospital to put to rest.

And the long-term mission for Wheeling Hospital.

“Changing the culture,” said Harrison. “And working with our staff to make sure that there’s a sense of pride in not only working in healthcare but a sense of pride in working for Wheeling Hospital.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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