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."]