SJH: "Not a Financial Decision"

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St. Joseph's hospital has announced plans to close its geriatric psychiatry center at the end of September because of problems recruiting physicians.

St. Joseph's Chief Executive Officer Patsy Hardy says efforts in the past three years to recruit additional geriatric psychiatrists have not been successful.

Patients already in the unit will continue their stay at St. Joseph's until they are scheduled to be discharged.

"This is not a financial decision," says St. Joseph's spokeswoman Jill Parsons. "In fact, the generations unit makes money, it covers its costs. This is about being able to take care of your patients with the physicians that you have."

Dr. Mario Schwab, a psychologist for Worthington Center, says that when Saint
Joseph's adult psychiatric center closed last year it led to an increase in the number of patients in Worthington's program.

But that program is usually available only in the daytime, whereas Saint Joseph's programs were available 24 hours a day. The other options for local patients are to go to hospitals in Charleston, Morgantown and Clarksburg.