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W.Va. hospital official predicts new hospital in Jeferson Co.

September 23, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Jefferson Memorial Hospital official said Thursday that the organization remains committed to building a new hospital to meet expected increases in patients in coming years.

Jefferson Memorial Hospital is seeing 18 to 20 patients come through its doors every day but that is expected to increase to about 40 to 45 patients a day within five years, said Roger M. Eitelman, chief executive officer of West Virginia University Hospitals East, the organization that is running the hospital. The organization includes Jefferson Memorial, City Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va., and West Virginia University Hospitals.

"That kind of growth calls ultimately for a new hospital," Eitelman told the Jefferson County Commission Thursday morning.

Jefferson Memorial Hospital officials have said they wanted to build a new hospital.

Building a new hospital was considered along with renovating the existing hospital or building a new hospital at the hospital's current site at 300 S. Preston St. in Ranson, W.Va.

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The latter two options appeared to be too costly, hospital officials have said.

Eitelman said Jefferson Memorial Hospital will be looking for land in the county for a new hospital and physician offices, but he did not give a timetable for the project.

Eitelman said the hospital has other short-term goals to focus on.

Among the short-term goals is increasing the size of the medical staff at the hospital, Eitelman said.

Eitelman said the hospital recently hired five additional physicians.

"While it may not be easy, it is doable," Eitelman said, referring to the new hires.

The Eastern Panhandle has experienced a shortage of health-care professionals and a push has been made to increase training opportunities for medical students in an attempt to get them to come here.

In recent years in West Virginia, there have been around 16.8 doctors for every 10,000 people, compared with 20 doctors for every 10,000 people nationally. In the Eastern Panhandle, there have been as few as 9.3 doctors for every 10,000 people, state health officials have said.

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