UPDATE (March 13, 2020 1:55 p.m.):

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Gov. Justice and WVU Medicine officials announced plans to keep Fairmont Regional Medical Center open while a new hospital is being built by in Fairmont by WVU Medicine.

Once approved by the state, construction could take 18 to 24 months, they said. The new facility would employ more than 500 people and would have 100 beds, Justice said.

Rendering of new WVU hospital in Fairmont

“I just couldn’t accept that West Virginia’s seventh-largest city by population wasn’t going to have a hospital in their community,” Gov. Justice said. “I have been working non-stop on this and I want to thank everyone involved – our lawmakers, community leaders, and our superstars at WVU Hospitals for stepping up and making this happen because Fairmont and Marion County deserve a fully operational hospital. This is a fabulous day,” Justice said.

Officials said that Fairmont Regional Medical Center would be kept open under the umbrella of WVU Medicine during the construction of the new hospital, which would be built on WVU Medicine’s property at the Gateway Connector. FRMC will be closed for approximately a month during a transition from current owner Alecto. Officials are working on plans with emergency services to make sure emergency care is available for patients during that closure period.

“Governor Justice was very serious about solving this problem and his vision and insistence to get it done has led us to this day,” WVU Hospitals President and CEO Albert Wright said. “Governor Justice always thinks big, and he pushed us to get to the point where we could make this a 100-bed full-service hospital,” Wright said.

Gov. Justice praised the work of Mon Health Systems, which announced plans to build a small format hospital in Fairmont earlier this week, but said it could not get to where it needed to be in terms of a hospital for Fairmont.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin D-WV, issued a statement on the announcement:

“Rural hospitals are essential to providing access to the quality care every West Virginian and American deserves. Marion County and Fairmont are my home and I know how devastating the potential closure of FRMC would be to the Fairmont community and economy. I look forward to working with WVU and other healthcare providers in the state to ensure that the Fairmont community continues to receive quality care. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on our healthcare system makes ensuring access to emergency care more vital than ever before. Continuing to keep rural hospitals and health centers open and functioning is essential to containing the spread of the coronavirus while providing quality care to those in need,” said Senator Manchin.

ORIGINAL STORY (March 12, 2020 11:11 a.m.):

WV Gov. Jim Justice

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s office issued a news release Thursday that he, “along with leaders from West Virginia’s healthcare industry, will make a major announcement regarding the future of Fairmont Regional Medical Center and the future of healthcare in Marion County,” on Friday.

Later Thursday, WVU Medicine also put out a news release stating that “WVU Medicine and Governor Justice will announce plans to expand health care services in Marion County in response to the closure of Fairmont Regional Medical Center.” Along with Justice, WVU Health System President and CEO Albert Wright and WVU President and WVU Health System Board Chair E. Gordon Gee are expected to be there, officials said.

FRMC officials announced last month that the hospital would be permanently closing within 60 days.

The announcement is scheduled for Friday afternoon at the WVU Medicine Urgent Care Clinic at the Gateway Connector in Fairmont.

WVU Medicine’s Fairmont Clinic

Last month, Justice met with officials at FRMC and pledged to help find a solution to the closure.

Earlier this week, Mon Health Systems announced plans for “small format” hospital in Fairmont.

12 News plans to offer a livestream of the Governor’s announcement on Friday afternoon on wboy.com.