UPDATE: St. Joe's Campus Closes

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UPDATE 8/20/2014 5:15 PM

A century of service to the community.

Now another empty building in Parkersburg.

Camden Clark Medical Center's St. Joseph's campus shut its doors for good.

Now the only ER in Parkersburg is at the Memorial campus.

It's not far away, but some people we talked with say they're worried this might mean longer wait times.

Hospital management says it's actually the opposite - having one location means better care.

Most of the St. Joe's team settled in at the Memorial campus.

"There's been a lot of changes... A lot of the people are using Camden Clark," says Jason Stollings, who lives in Parkersburg.

"They really go out of their way to take care of the patients... They're family, they're friends," says Dr. Doug Smith.

Some outpatient and cardiac branches are still in the works, but hospital management says they have the staff and equipment they need to take care of the community.

The end of an era for many.

Luminaries were placed outside the hospital Tuesday night, remembering careers, family and the lives made there.

But staff say the spirit of St. Joe's lives on at Memorial.


UPDATE 8/20/2014 10:40 AM

You could say it's the end of an era, but it's so much more than that.

Tuesday, after a century of operation, the St. Joseph's campus closed its doors one last time.

Around 200 former employees, patients and supporters came out to watch as they started tearing the signs off the emergency room doors.

The current building, built in the late 20's, has seen a lot of growth and expansion over the years.

Many employees say they've spent their whole lives there - from candy striper to RN - and watching the signs come down was heart breaking.

"When it was first announced we all simply broke down because we've left our blood, sweat and tears here day after day, days on end. And whittling down our census was thirty, sixty, ten last week. So, yeah, that was surprising, too," says Lee Dowler, former RN at St. Joe's.

Dowler says while many of the employees are moving to Camden Clark, some have chosen to leave altogether.

But no matter what, they're still family.

Luminaries were placed outside the hospital - a small way to remember careers, family and the lives made there.


UPDATE 8/4/2014 3:15 PM

Camden Clark Memorial Center's St. Joseph's campus has been a major source of area care for more than a century.

But soon it will close its doors for good.

Doctors and patients at are being transferred to CCMC's Memorial campus.

While most of the staff will keep a job, more than fifty people may not be so lucky.

The hospital's CEO David McClure says the move is necessary; the community doesn't need two in-patient hospitals.

St.Joe's cares sees only about 30 in-patients a day.

"Between our doctors and our patients, they end up moving back and forth. We just felt it was more appropriate to have
everything on one campus. That's really our goal, to bring healthcare to the community and to the neighborhoods," said McClure.

Saint Joe's specialty was cardiology.

Fortunately for patients, the Memorial campus will soon have three cath labs,and there's already an open heart surgery suite in-house.


Update 7/23/2014 7:00 P.M.

By the end of August, the complex that, for more than a century, was St. Joseph's Hospital will be virtually empty.

The transitional care unit on the St. Joseph's campus closed two weeks ago, and most of its staff now has jobs at the memorial campus of Camden Clark Medical Center.

And the process of transferring patients between the two campuses is under way.

"We have moved all our general surgery patients from the St. Joseph's campus to the Memorial campus," says David McClure, who became Camden Clark's President and CEO June 1. "Next week, we will move all of our neurosurgical patients from the St. Joseph's campus to the Memorial campus. Next will be our orthopedic population, and last will be our cardiac patient population."

Camden Clark Medical Center announced in May it is closing the St. Joseph's campus and consolidating operations at the Memorial campus.

It said as a result, 60 people will be losing their jobs.

McClure says a final decision on staffing at the Memorial campus will be made some time next month.

Camden Clark Medical Center will hold a health fair Saturday, August 2, at the St. Joseph's campus.

The hospital will provide information at that time on the campus consolidation and the ongoing transfer of the patient population.

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UPDATE 5/20/2014 4:05 PM

Camden Clark Medical Center representatives say the St. Joseph's campus is closing by the end of this year and 60 people will lose their jobs.

CCMC originally said consolidation of the Camden Clark and St. Joseph's campuses would happen in 2017.

This time frame was based on demand for inpatient services in fiscal years 2011 and 2012.

But CCMC says inpatient demand declined drastically over the last 12 months, meaning the Camden Clark campus alone can now accommodate patients.

As a result, the St. Joseph's campus is closing to all inpatients by August 15, and to all other hospital patients by November 30.

This does not include the professional office building, which will stay open indefinitely for patients seeing doctors there.

The transitional care unit is closing by August 1 and there are no plans to reopen it in the near future.

CCMC says 163 positions will be cut, but the majority of those people will be offered jobs within the hospital.

Still, 60 people will lose their jobs with CCMC.

Layoffs will be in the following departments: dietary, housekeeping, physical therapy, social services, communications, materials management, patient access and billing, imaging (including CT, echo and radiology), pharmacy, engineering, respiratory therapy and guest relations.

CCMC says consolidating services to one campus will be more convenient for patients and increase efficiency.


UPDATE 12/09/2013 11:10 AM

One area hospital receives state approval to combine its two campuses.

A spokesman says consolidating Camden Clark Medical Center's St. Joseph's and Memorial campuses is expected to take several years and cost $47 million dollars.

It's been over two years since West Virginia United Health System merged Camden Clark with St. Joseph's.

Last week's approval opens the door for construction and renovations to begin.


UPDATED: Tuesday, Aug. 7, 6:26 p.m.

It's been a part of the community for well over a century.

But now, the name "St. Joseph's" is disappearing for good from the hospital which last year, became part of Camden Clark Medical Center. The news that the St. Joseph's campus is closing might come as a shocker to many, but for others, this announcement was a long time coming.

Tuesday morning, Mike King, President and CEO of Camden Clark, met with employees of both campuses, issuing a memo stating that all current hospital services located at the St. Joseph's campus would move to the Memorial campus.

According to recent action by the medical center board of directors, this, King says, would take place over several years.

King cites costs involved in improving St. Joseph's physical plant, and the duplication of services at both campuses.

Vienna Mayor David Nohe, who served on St. Joseph's board of trustees before the merger of the two hospitals took place, says the news is sad, but not shocking.

"It's kind of a sad day for me when I hear that," the mayor said Tuesday afternoon. "Not that I didn't expect it. But when your whole heritage...my parents, myself and all my kids...was born there; to think that it no longer exists, it kind of hurts at first."

Mayor Nohe says his daughter's child was the last born at st. joseph's maternity ward, before that recently was closed.

Another factor mentioned in King's memo is a substantial drop in patients at the St. Joseph's campus.

He says that the physical consolidation of the two sites was considered a possibility when the merger plans were first announced nearly two years ago.

Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell, who is out of town, told WTAP he hopes jobs at the medical center remain intact...but adds the city will work with the hospital administration to find a use for the St. Joseph's facility, which could bring some new jobs to the area.

"I knew that they had closed out but I didn't realize that they were closing," says Rebecca Wilson of Ritchie County. "So I don't know, I don't know what we'll do. I guess we'll make do."

Mary Lee of Williamstown found the news of the closing most unexpected.

"It's really a shock," Lee says. "I didn't expect anything like that, it's really surprising."

Mineral Wells resident Roger Parsons has a history with St. Joes.

"Well I was born at St. Joe and its hard to believe they're closing, you know...closing down," Parsons says.

Todd Nelson of North Hills says the hospital closing will be a blow to many and take away jobs in the process. He also says that people will have to look elsewhere for medical care.

"I have a personal tie to it and many people in the town do," Nelson says. "I know a lot of people that work there and for the community it will be very bad economically and for those who really like St. Joe Hospital. It's just heartbreaking news to hear."

For the people I spoke to, no one knew about the closing and everyone was both shocked and saddened at the long time institution going out of business.

[A memo to hospital employees went out Tuesday, August 7 informing them of the plan to consolidate the operations from St. Joseph's to Camden Clark Medical Center.

The consolidation will take place over the next several years. A long term facility plan will be developed by a Facility Plan Steering Committee yet to be assembled.

President and CEO, Mike King, described the planned closing of St. Joseph's this way. "It is indeed the best option for our community for the long term viability and vitality of our hospital."


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