picture by: Robert A. DeFrank
ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Even more quality health care will be available near you 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 region’s healthcare needs 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 had made progress since first announcing that the medical practice building would reopen as clinics two and a half years ago.
“We felt that people in this community needed access to healthcare locally, and we didn’t want them to lose that,” he said, adding that clinics reopened in October 2019, and a year later in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic they expanded with cardiac services. He said that meant more local treatment, with higher level care available at Steubenville Hospital.
“But today we’re going to announce the next chapter,” Grimshaw said.
He said the new hospital will be located on the site of the former Napa Auto Parts building adjacent to the plaza along US 40. The brick building will be saved and redeveloped. Plans are for a two-story hospital with a 10-bed emergency room, two operating rooms, six inpatient rooms for short-stay wards, radiology wards, laboratory wards and the possibility of ‘enlarge. There will be a 24 hour emergency room.
Grimshaw said the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred new innovations in healthcare, with greater emphasis on convenience and efficiency.
“The world has changed. Surgeries that just five years ago required a four-day stay in hospital, patients are now leaving the same day or the next day. The time spent in a hospital is getting shorter and shorter, so we are designing a facility with this in mind. I believe the day will come when you will see patients having surgery in hospitals here and recovering in hotels. Our world is different. The cost of health care is rising and we need to rethink the way we provide care,” said Grimshaw, adding that all current services will be retained.
“Any patient who requires a higher level of care, we will guarantee service at our main hospital in Steubenville, but we are not going to tell patients they have to go anywhere. If a patient wants staying in Belmont County, we have a good relationship with East Ohio (Regional Hospital),” he said, adding that they will also be transferred to sites such as Wheeling and Columbus. “Wherever the patient wants go.
“We believe this is the future of healthcare. It’s effective, it’s accessible, and it’s in the community where people live,” he said.
This represents an investment of $12 million. Groundbreaking could take place this summer and be completed in 2024. He said Trinity’s foundation would provide the $12 million for construction costs and raise additional funds for equipment. He mentioned the possibility that state funding for Appalachian counties may be available.
Grimshaw said Trinity recognizes the growth of St. Clairsville and the potential growth of Belmont County, with possible developments including an ethane cracker plant that could come to Dilles Bottom along Ohio 7.
Dwayne Richardson, president of Twin City Medical Center and who will serve as president of St. Clairsville Hospital, said he looks forward to serving the community and beyond. He is looking forward to leading “the team”. Afterwards, he said the number of staff had not yet been determined as of that early date.
Doug Schaefer, chairman of the board, said expanding services has been a goal for years and called the announcement a “natural next step” for Trinity.
“Through all the changes over the years, Trinity Health System has not wavered in the excellent care it provides to its patients,” said Jerry Simpson, president of the Trinity Health System Foundation. The foundation funds Trinity’s projects.
“Belmont County, welcome to the Trinity Health System family,” he said.
Dr. Rick Greco, President of Medical Group Enterprise, Dr. Vincent Kolenich, MD, 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 would consider when deciding whether to stay in the area. She welcomed Trinity’s announcement.
“They will bring the health care of our citizens into the 21st century,” she said.