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Acuity Specialty Hospital’s sites remain open

By LINDA COMINS

For the Times Leader

WHEELING — While other medical facilities have closed or undergone significant changes, Acuity Specialty Hospital of Ohio Valley continues to provide long-term acute care for area residents.

Acuity Specialty Hospital offers inpatient care at three local sites: in the former Belmont Community Hospital building in Bellaire, at Wheeling Hospital and at Weirton Medical Center. Despite Belmont Community Hospital’s closure in April, Acuity’s main provider campus continues to be located on the second floor of that building.

“We are still there. We are open for business at this time. We want people to know that,” said Judy Weaver, vice president of clinical quality and chief clinical officer of Acuity Healthcare.

Weaver also serves as CEO of Acuity Specialty Hospital of Ohio Valley, which is owned in part by Acuity Healthcare and physician investors. Belmont Community’s shutdown has had an adverse effect on Acuity’s patient load, she said.

“Our operation there has noted a significant decrease since Belmont closed — just because people are confused in the community,” she said. “That closure has impacted us in some sense. We are working on some other opportunities locally.”

At this point, the number of long-term acute-care beds operated by Acuity will stay the same.

“We’re sad we are losing additional acute beds in the area,” Weaver said, referring to the closure of Belmont Community Hospital, Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling and East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry.

Meanwhile, Acuity is establishing a new 25-bed, long-term, acute-care facility to be known as Acuity Specialty Hospital of Morgantown.

“We are projected to be open to patients in mid-November,” she said.

The new site will be located on the fourth floor of Mon Health Medical Center in Morgantown.

“It will be a hospital within a hospital,” Weaver explained. “Every LTAC in the state of West Virginia has to be a hospital within a hospital. That’s the way the Health Care Authority wrote the rules.”

By contrast, she said, “In the state of Ohio, they don’t have a CON (certificate of need process). An LTAC can be a stand-alone hospital. We are considered a stand-alone hospital at Belmont at this point.”

The new Acuity Specialty Hospital of Morgantown is expected to serve patients primarily in the Morgantown-Clarksburg market area.

Currently, residents in that region have to go to Charleston or Pittsburgh for long-term acute care, she said. For patients, those facilities “can be up to four hours away from their families’ homes,” she added.

“We’re thrilled to continue to be here to serve our communities and the patients that need us the most,” Weaver said. “We hope to be here for many, many years to come.”

Acuity Healthcare is an employee-owned, long-term, acute-care hospital company founded in 2001. Its headquarters is located in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Belmont Community Hospital was a division of Wheeling Hospital. OVMC and EORH were owned by Alecto Healthcare Services of Irvine, California.

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