Brown, Johnson implore Alecto

Ohio officials release joint statement on local medical facility situation

Sherrod Brown

MARTINS FERRY — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, sent a letter on Friday to the executives who hold the fates of East Ohio Regional Hospital and Ohio Valley Medical Center in their hands.

In the letter addressed to Lex Reddy, CEO of Alecto Healthcare Services, and Daniel Dunmyer, president and CEO of EORH in Martins Ferry and OVMC in Wheeling, the legislators state they “share deep concern” about Alecto Healthcare Services’ decision to close the facilities — “and even more recent the decision to expedite the closure of OVMC.”

“We encourage you to reconsider your timeline for the closure of EORH and continue to work with local stakeholders and the cities of Martins Ferry and Wheeling to identify, solicit and confirm a successor for the critical care currently provided by both facilities prior to ending all operations,” Brown and Johnson wrote.

Alecto has said it will close EORH as early as Oct. 7.

They go on to state how important both facilities are to the Ohio Valley. OVMC operated an inpatient psychiatric unit, which was a “critical component in the spectrum of care in the midst of a mental health and substance use disorder crisis.” And EORH has operated a federally funded black lung clinic for nearly 40 years.

Bill Johnson

“Not only have these facilities contributed to the health of the surrounding area for the last century, they have also contributed meaningfully to the economic health of the Ohio Valley Region, employing more than 1,200 individuals from the local community,” they wrote.

“The abrupt closure of OVMC (last week) and Alecto Healthcare Services’ current plans to end all clinical services at EORH facility early next month has given the local community — including patients and their families, employees and other local stakeholders — less than a few months to find alternative sources for both critical health care services and employment opportunities.

“While we appreciate that Alecto Healthcare Services has made attempts to identify a strategic partner or buyer for the hospitals over the past few months, it is critical that you not abandon this effort yet. We encourage you to pause the announced EORH closure timeline, continue to collaborate with local elected officials and stakeholders, and recommit to finding a potential means to continue operations at the hospital in a way that protects both hospitals’ patients as well as its dedicated employees.

“We remain ready to support your collective efforts to ensure a positive outcome for the residents of Martins Ferry, Ohio, and Wheeling, West Virginia, as a source of trusted care in the community for more than 100 years. Please do not hesitate to reach out if our offices can be of assistance,” the legislators conclude.