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WVU Medicine flag raised Friday at Harrison Community Hospital

T-L Photo/CARRI GRAHAM Harrison Community Hospital is now a full member of West Virginia University Health System. The WVU Medicine sign now hangs above the front entrance of the HCH.

CADIZ — A small introduction ceremony was held Friday morning at Harrison Community Hospital, recognizing that it has officially become a full member of the West Virginia University Health System.

Tony Martinellie, former assistant vice president of HCH, opened the event by welcoming those in attendance, including HCH staff, WVU Medicine officials and community leaders.

“Last year we closed the year with a celebration of 50 years of service at Harrison Community Hospital, so I think it’s really fantastic that we opened this year with a celebration of the next 50 years of service at HCH,” he said.

On April 1, HCH joined the WVU Health System along with Barnesville and Wheeling hospitals. As full health system members, the hospitals are part of a broad, integrated network of doctors, hospitals, clinics and specialized institutes across West Virginia, Southwestern Pennsylvania, Western Maryland and Eastern Ohio, according to a previous release.

Doug Harrison, CEO of WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital and former CEO of HCH, said HCH is a “shining example of what a health care delivery model should be.”

“People say health care is local, and this is an example of what we’re talking about — people caring for people in their own community. This is what the spirit of HCH is all about,” he added.

However, in order to provide high quality health care at a local level, it is imperative that hospitals join a larger, integrated health care delivery model, Harrison said.

“So we can make sure patients are getting the right care at the right place at the right time. This is what we’re doing here today is transitioning and integrating HCH into a broader, more comprehensive health care system that ensures the long-term viability and access to quality care at a local level,” he said.

Albert L. Wright Jr., president and CEO of WVU Health System, said WVU Medicine is on a mission to become one of the top 25 academic health systems in the country. He said HCH joining the health care system will provide patients with a more extensive list of services.

“The great culture here (at HCH) and the capabilities here you have will remain. We will grow the list of services and capabilities in the hospital, we will install the electronic medical records here in the coming months, and you’ll then be part of a much larger and integrated health care network,” he said.

Wright said if patients choose to go to a different hospital in the area, whether it be from Harrison to Wheeling or to Morgantown, all their images, prescriptions, labs, physician progress notes and more will be accessible.

“It all follows you. It creates a safer environment so there’s no handoffs or prescription errors; it creates a lower cost environment because we don’t duplicate things; and it creates a coordinated pattern of care where we have better outcomes,” he added.

Wright said HCH is an important part of the region. He said the hospitals’ growth helps improve the trajectory of West Virginia and the surrounding areas.

“It’s very critical as we create this network of hospitals that we stabilize health care in this part of the state and the region,” he said.

WVU President E. Gordon Gee said WVU is delighted to be a part of the Harrison County community. He said officials want to make sure communities in rural America have health care access as good as people have in larger cities.

“In fact, we believe that we provide better health care because of the fact that we are very community centered,” he said. “We need to think of ourselves as a powerful region of good people doing good things, and it starts with great health care.”

David Phillips, CEO of WVU Medicine HCH and WVU Medicine Barnesville Hospital, said he was born and raised in Flushing and has many ties to the local area. After fighting a battle with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, he said, his grandmother spent some of her final days at HCH, where she received “excellent care.”

“And that’s something we’re going to continue as we go forward here at HCH. It’s a long tradition of care that’s been provided to the community, and that is something we won’t forget where we’ve been, but it’s an exciting path moving forward,” he said.

Phillips said the hospital will continue to proudly serve the communities with the support of WVU Health System.

Following the speakers, Doug Ossman, a long-time maintenance worker at HCH, raised the WVU Medicine flag outside the hospital while Dr. Dan Jones, medical director of WVU Medicine HCH, played “Country Roads” on his guitar alongside his grandfather, Roy Lucas.

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