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Panhandle hospitals receive OK for construction projects

November 23, 2006|from staff reports

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The West Virginia Health Care Authority has approved two certificate of need (CON) applications filed by West Virginia University Hospitals-East earlier this year, according to a news released issued Wednesday.

One is a $41 million request to complete several health-care construction projects in the Eastern Panhandle and the other a $2.9 million request to establish a cardiac catheterization lab at City Hospital in Martinsburg.

According to WVUH-East President and CEO Roger Eitelman, a decision on the applications was expected in mid-December.

"We were pleased to learn this week that the Health Care Authority had reviewed and approved both CON applications allowing us to move forward with these projects," Eitelman said in the release.

The $41 million certificate of need includes the construction of several medical office buildings for physician practices in both Jefferson and Berkeley counties, expansion of the emergency department, intensive care and telemetry units at City Hospital in Martinsburg, and a number of facility improvements and service enhancements at Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson, W.Va.

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The medical office building in Jefferson County is projected to be the first building on the new hospital campus.

The $2.9 million certificate of need allows for the development of a cardiac cath lab at City Hospital that will provide the basis for enhancing cardiology services in the Eastern Panhandle. Once the service is fully developed, patients will have the choice of staying in the local area for cardiology services.

Both certificates of need contain projects that support goals outlined in the WVUH-East strategic plan, including facilitating the recruitment of physicians that support area residents and increasing hospital services and programs in the Eastern Panhandle, according to the release.

The projects approved in these certificates of need allow the system to move toward this commitment, system officials stated.

With the State of West Virginia's approval of these projects, planning and design is expected to begin within the next few months with construction to follow.

On Jan. 1, 2005, the parent corporations of City Hospital and Jefferson Memorial Hospital merged to form a new not-for-profit health-care system for the Eastern Panhandle known as West Virginia University Hospitals-East. WVUH-East's parent company, West Virginia University Hospitals in Morgantown, W.Va., is a member of the West Virginia United Health System, the state's largest health-care network.

Teresa McCabe, vide president of marketing and development for WVUH-East, said Wednesday the $41 million project will include the creation of a new emergency department on the west side of the building closer to exit 14 off Interstate 81.

"The ambulances and others ... will be able to use exit 14 on (Interstate) 81 and pull right into the emergency department," McCabe said.

On the second floor above the new emergency department, the hospital plans to build a new critical care or ICU, she said.

McCabe said the state board approval does not include the project for the new Jefferson Memorial Hospital.

The land for the new hospital was donated by developers of the Huntfield community in Charkes Town and is awaiting the final annexation and approval process.

"We hope, if all goes well, to take possession of the land sometime in late spring or early summer," McCabe said.

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