Neighborhood hospital coming to Belmont County
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Even more quality health care will be available close to home as Belmont County welcomes a new hospital.
On Thursday, Trinity Health System announced the upcoming construction of a neighborhood hospital in St. Clairsville to meet the health needs of the area with efficient and accessible care.
Trinity Health System President and CEO Matt Grimshaw and others made the announcement at Plaza Drive, where some clinics are currently located. He said Trinity has made progress since first announcing the medical office building would be reopened as clinics two and a half years ago.
“We believed that the people in this community needed access to health care locally, and we did not want them to lose that,” he said, adding that the clinics reopened in October 2019, and a year later in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic they expanded with cardiac services. He said this has meant more local treatment, with higher-level care available at the hospital in Steubenville.
“But today, we’re going to announce the next chapter,” Grimshaw said.
He said the new hospital will be located at the site of the former Napa Auto Parts building adjacent to the plaza along U.S. 40. The brick building will be saved and repurposed. Plans are for a two-story hospital with a 10-bed emergency room, two operating rooms, six in-patient rooms for short stay services, radiology services, laboratory services, and room to expand. There will be a 24-hour emergency room.
Grimshaw said the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred new innovations in health care, with more focus on convenience and efficiency.
“The world has changed. Surgeries that just five years ago required a four-day stay in the hospital, patients are now leaving the same day or the next day. The amount of time spent in a hospital is getting shorter and shorter, so we are designing a facility with that in mind. I believe a day is coming where you will see patients getting surgery at hospitals here and recovering in hotels. Our world is different. The cost of health care is going up, and we have to rethink how we deliver care,” Grimshaw said, adding that all current services will be retained.
“Any patient who needs a higher level of care, we will guarantee them a service at our main hospital in Steubenville, but we are not going to tell patients they have to go anywhere. If a patient wants to stay in Belmont County, we have a good relationship with East Ohio (Regional Hospital),” he said, adding they will also transfer to sites such as Wheeling and Columbus. “Wherever the patient wants to go.
“We believe this is the future of health care. It is efficient, it is accessible and it is in the community where people live,” he said.
This represents an investment of $12 million. Groundbreaking could be this summer, with completion in 2024. He said Trinity’s foundation will be providing the $12 million for construction costs and will be raising additional funds for the equipment. He mentioned the possibility that state funding for Appalachian counties may be available.
Grimshaw said Trinity recognizes the growth in St. Clairsville and the potential growth in Belmont County, with possible developments including an ethane cracker plant that may be coming to Dilles Bottom along Ohio 7.
Dwayne Richardson, president of Twin City Medical Center and who will be president of the St. Clairsville hospital, said he looks forward to serving the community and beyond. He looks forward to leading the “team.” Afterward, he said numbers of staff members have not yet been determined at this early date.
Doug Schaefer, president of the board of trustees, said expansion of services has been a goal for years and called this announcement the “natural next step” for Trinity.
“Through all the changes over the years, Trinity Health System has not wavered in the excellent care it provides for its patients,” Jerry Simpson, president of the Trinity Health System Foundation, said. The foundation provides funding for Trinity’s projects.
“Belmont County, welcome to the Trinity Health System family,” he said.
Dr. Rick Greco, president of the Medical Group Enterprise, Dr. Vincent Kolenich, physician, and St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce Director Wendy Anderson also spoke.
St. Clairsville Mayor Kathryn Thalman said the availability of quality health care would be a key factor along with other opportunities young people will consider in deciding to remain in the area. She welcomed Trinity’s announcement.
“They will be taking the health care of our citizens into the 21st Century,” she said.