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Ohio Valley Hospitals Experience Layoffs, Expansions, Changes

February 21, 2011
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - For some local hospitals, 2010 marked a year of expansions, layoffs and changes in leadership.

At Wheeling Hospital, a $50 million expansion project kicked off and is scheduled to be completed sometime in 2012. Known as Tower 5, the addition will include a new emergency room, more patient rooms and additional office space.

The hospital also began training its employees to use a new paperless method of record keeping on the $20.9 million Eclipsys Sunrise software system.

Also in 2010, Ohio Valley Health Services Education Corp.'s chief executive officer, Brian Felici, resigned. In April, Jan Jennings, president of American Healthcare Solutions, took over as interim CEO of the corporation, the parent company of Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling and East Ohio Regional Hospital, Martins Ferry.

Jennings was hired by the corporation's board of directors to shore up the hospitals' finances.

On Nov. 18, 34 middle-management positions were cut at OVMC and EORH.

Jennings was replaced by interim CEO Gary Amberson.

In early December, George Couch, former CEO at Wetzel County Hospital, was hired as permanent CEO at OVMC and EORH. In December, Wetzel County Hospital hired Felici to take over as CEO there.

Wetzel County also did some renovation work in 2010, with the addition of an expanded emergency room. The $2.6 million project began in 2009 and was planned for several years before coming to fruition.

OVMC and EORH spokeswoman Shayna Varner pointed out some accomplishments during 2010, such as EORH orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Michalski's use of "patient-customized joint replacement implants," also known as the 30-year knee. He began offering the new implants in August.

"By offering this type of joint replacement surgery, Dr. Michalski and his surgical team are the only area team to offer this joint replacement procedure. In the past, the industry standard of joint replacement implants were only expected to last 10 to 15 years.

"This new technology allows Dr. Michalski to use a patient's MRI and X-ray images to design and build surgical instruments customized to best fit the patient's unique knee anatomy," she said.

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