WHEELING, W.Va. and MARTINS FERRY, Ohio (WTRF) – They say the looming October 7 closures of OVMC and East Ohio Regional Hospital will devastate the area both in terms of health care choices and more than a thousand jobs that will be lost all at once.
Erin Conner of Wheeling is shocked and worried. “Being 28 weeks pregnant, I now have to find a new doctor to deliver my baby,” she said. “Not very good when you’re trying not to stress out. And thinking that you had a doctor that you trusted to care for you for your entire pregnancy, and now all of a sudden you’re told that can’t happen.”
Conner says her doctor is definitely leaving.
Each doctor will have to decide where they’re going now. Dr. John Holloway will move his practice to another building, but will remain in the area. He says that OVMC was—and still is—the best at caring for patients.
“As of today, I was up on the floor and the same superb excellent health care is being given at the bedside as has been done my entire 36 years here,” Dr. Holloway noted. “And that’s the thing that is such a loss, to see that go. These employees are so committed to the patients they take of.”
In Martins Ferry, Mayor Bob Krajnyak says Alecto officials personally made a lot of promises when they bought East Ohio Regional Hospital, and he says those promises were never fulfilled. He’s not taking this closure without a fight.
“We’re going to work as hard as we can to try and get somebody to come in and take over the hospital, whether it be in-state, out-of-state or from across the country,” said Krajnyak. “We’ve got to look, to find somebody to come in here and keep the hospital open.”
At the OVMC, closing the psych components of the facility—especially the Robert C. Byrd Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Center—will leave a critical gap in this area and the entire state.
“These people are going to have to either go far away or to other states, and that is a huge loss for West Virginia,” said Dr. Holloway. “They’re going to have to figure out how to keep that maintained, because otherwise it’s just going to have one more terrible impact for the entire state.”
The Mayor of Martins Ferry says he has contacted county commissioners and state officials about retraining opportunities and contingency plans for people who are suddenly out of work.