Wheeling, W.Va. (WTRF)- Wheeling Hospital, a not-for-profit hospital affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston since its founding in 1850 by the first Bishop and a local physician, will become a full member of the West Virginia University Health System (WVUHS) under a Letter of Intent (LOI) that the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and WVUHS signed this week.
WVUHS has been managing Wheeling Hospital through a management services agreement since June 2019, with WVU Medicine senior executive Douglass E. Harrison serving as the Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer.
Under the LOI, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston will enter into a 50-year long-term lease of Wheeling Hospital and its related facilities.
The agreement also ensures Wheeling Hospital will maintain its Catholic identity as it becomes a full member of WVUHS.
As a full member of the health system, Wheeling Hospital will be part of a broad, integrated network of doctors, hospitals, clinics, and specialized institutes across West Virginia, Southwestern Pennsylvania, Western Maryland, and Ohio.
Today, the WVU Health System, which operates under the brand “WVU Medicine,” has more than 20,000 employees; 2,815 providers; 22 member, managed, and affiliate hospitals; and more than 2.5 million patient visits annually.
“We are honored that Bishop Mark Brennan trusts us to continue Wheeling Hospital’s legacy and tradition of caring for the Wheeling and Upper Ohio Valley communities,” said Albert L. Wright, Jr., President and CEO of WVU Health System. “As a full member of our health system, Wheeling Hospital will remain true to its mission, traditions, Catholic identity, and practice of medicine, while benefitting from being part of a larger, integrated network. Together we will offer excellent healthcare to the people of the greater Wheeling area.”
Over the next several months, WVUHS, Wheeling Hospital and the Diocese will work through a variety of business and operational matters related to the transaction and Wheeling Hospital’s transition to WVUHS, including moving to the health system’s integrated electronic medical record and developing plans to transition Wheeling Hospital employees to the WVUHS benefits plan.
“I believe that this strengthened partnership between the Diocese and the WVU Health System will ensure the long-term viability of Wheeling Hospital and enable it to provide even better care to the sick and injured who come through its doors,” said Most Rev. Mark E. Brennan, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. “I am also pleased that the full Catholic identity of the Hospital will be maintained. The Catholic Church has centuries of experience and wisdom about how to conduct good health care. It is encouraging that WVUHS recognizes that reality. I am confident that Mr. Wright, Mr. Harrison and the entire WVU Medicine team will be faithful stewards of this cherished community asset and will operate it in a manner that honors and continues its ministry of providing critical healthcare services to our community in the name of Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician. I trust that this partnership will ensure that Wheeling Hospital thrives for generations to come.”
The Diocese and WVUHS expect the Hospital to join WVUHS as a full member in March 2021, subject to all applicable board and governmental approvals.