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Hamill: Old hospital likely to be demolished

Hospital officials discuss transition from Washington County Hospital to Meritus Medical Center

September 15, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION
  • George MacKnew examines charts of sections of the new Meritus Medical Center Wednesday evening at an informational meeting. Hospital officials detailed new methods for patient and customer care.
Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

The president and CEO of Washington County Health System said Wednesday night that it is looking "more and more likely" that Washington County Hospital will be demolished after the new Meritus Medical Center opens later this year.

James P. Hamill made the statement before about 80 people who attended a meeting at Robinwood Medical Center, where he and other hospital officials discussed how the transition will be made when closing Washington County Hospital and opening Meritus Medical Center on Dec. 11.

Two or three years ago, some national development groups were interested in turning former hospitals into housing units, Hamill said. A couple of groups were interested in pursuing that idea for Washington County Hospital, a hospital official said.

But with the current state of the economy, there has been little interest in developing the hospital, Hamill said. He said the hospital will "more and more likely be demolished, although that decision is months away."

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Hamill said the health system's emphasis right now is on opening Meritus Medical Center.

At 6 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11, hospital officials will start moving equipment and patients out of the current hospital and into Meritus Medical Center, project executive Neal McKelvey said. Moving will continue throughout the day, he said.

Thousands of pieces of equipment will be moved to the new hospital, McKelvey said.

About 175 to 200 patients will be moved Dec. 11, and 30 ambulances from two companies will be used to move patients, McKelvey said. The hospital cannot use ambulances from local rescue companies because those are needed to handle calls in the community, he said.

Patients at Washington County Hospital will be evaluated about a week before the new hospital opens to determine their needs and to which units they will be assigned at Meritus Medical Center, hospital officials said.

Anyone seeking treatment at Washington County Hospital on Dec. 11 will be assessed there and stabilized, McKelvey said. If it is determined the person needs to be admitted, they will be put into the "ambulance cycle" to be taken to the new hospital, he said. Medical operations will cease at Washington County Hospital later that day, he said.

Hospital workers have been studying how they think operations will be handled at the new hospital, although that could change once they get their "feet on the tile," said Kelsey Wilkes, project manager for the move.

"Kinda breathtaking, isn't it?" Hamill said to the crowd.

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