Ferry Mayor: Give hospital a break

T-L Photo/SHELLEY HANSON MARTINS FERRY Law Director Paul Stecker, left, talks with Mayor Robert Krajnyak after Wednesday’s regular city council meeting.

MARTINS FERRY — Mayor Robert Krajnyak has spoken to every state and federal legislator he can think of regarding the future of East Ohio Regional Hospital.

But there is one more person he plans to try and contact directly for help — Gov. Mike DeWine. There’s no time to waste: EORH’s sister facility in Wheeling, Ohio Valley Medical Center, suspended its service Wednesday night, nearly a month sooner than initially announced by Alecto Healthcare Inc., the hospitals’ owner.

However, Krajnyak is hopeful that maybe EORH will instead stay open longer because of OVMC’s early shutdown. Some of those ER and other patients will instead be sent to EORH, he noted.

Meanwhile, there is more to keeping the facility open than just taking on additional patients.

“I would hope creditors out there would be patient and allow this process to play out in attempt to save our hospital. … Whether it be Band-Aids, utilities or whatever — I think it will be very detrimental to the effort to save our hospital,” he said during Wednesday night’s Martins Ferry City Council meeting.

“If creditors can be patient, maybe in a month or so we will be able to announce that someone has come in. I think if everyone starts pouncing and shutting accounts down, the hospital will be shutdown before we know it and it will be harder to get something done.”

Krajnyak mentioned he had met with U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, about the matter, as well as those in the office of Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, state Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, and others.

“The only one I haven’t talked to is the governor and that may change here shortly,” he said.

Krajnyak offered some insight into what occurred at OVMC.

“From what I understand the biggest reason for the early closing was the fact that they were pretty much out of supplies, and Alecto is over top of the business is not putting any money into it to keep supplies there,” he said.

Resident Richard Hord asked the mayor what kind of impact the early closure of OVMC might have on EORH.

“I don’t think it will speed things up here … because of the networking of patients. It might help us out a little bit and give us more time,” he said.

In other matters, Krajnyak asked people to keep police officer Sgt. Beth Scales in their thoughts and prayers as she recovers from an accident. Last week, Scales received minor injuries after her parked police cruiser was struck by an alleged drunk driver who was arrested at the scene. Scales, he said, may be able to come back to work after her next doctor’s appointment later this month.

Councilman Rick Rodgers noted a program about Betty Zane in relation to the city of Wheeling 250th anniversary celebrations is set to take place at 10 a.m. Saturday at Walnut Grove Cemetery. The event is open to the public.

Council also heard a presentation regarding the upcoming 2020 United States Census by Amber Kohler, a partnership specialist with the Census Bureau. She said the bureau is in the process of hiring census workers in the county. Application information can be found at the Martins Ferry Public Library or on the census website, www.census.gov.

She said people will be mailed census questionaires, but are being encouraged this year to take it online instead. Doing so saves the government time and money, she said.

She added it is important that everyone take part in the census because it determines how federal money is disbursed throughout the country. She noted the Martins Ferry area historically has a low return rate. She is hoping locals will get involved in a committee to help boost those numbers. The census final results will be released to the public in 2021.

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