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Wheeling Hospital requests hearing on OVMC certificate of need

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The purchase of OVMC and the certificate of need is growing controversial in the state of West Virginia.

Alecto, the company that is purchasing OVMC, released a statement saying that Wheeling Hospital has requested a hearing on Alecto Healthcare's certificate of need application to buy OVMC.

Some lawmakers in the state are trying to eliminate the certificate of need. Right now, it's mandated in the state that a company prove there is a need in order for the medical service in the area to open.

The statement said, in part "the actions of Wheeling Hospital appear to be designed to block the transaction and could lead to the closing of OVMC and East Ohio Regional Medical Center and the loss of nearly 1,500 jobs.”

It went on to say “we are disappointed in the actions of Wheeling Hospital, more importantly we do not understand how a governmental process that was intended to protect West Virginia’s citizens can be manipulated to stall economic progress, well-paying jobs, and quality healthcare in the Northern Panhandle.

Alecto has made the following commitments to the employees of OVMC: assuming employees' paid time off; ensuring that employees will continue to have health benefits and a 401(k); and assuming the frozen pension plan. All of these commitments will be in immediate jeopardy if Wheeling Hospital is permitted to delay this transaction.

We would hope that Governor Jim Justice and legislature step in and protect the hospital, the 1,500 area jobs, and a competitive healthcare market in the Wheeling area.”

Wheeling Hospital followed up with its own statement in response, saying “Alecto's statements are simply misleading. Wheeling Hospital's request for a hearing is based on a matter of social responsibility and the right for the public to know what may happen to OVMC, one of our community's assets. OVMC has a role in our community and we are sincerely concerned about the fate of its employees."

Wheeling Hospital's statement went on to say:

" We have requested a hearing so additional information about the proposed purchase can be made public that otherwise would not be. On one hand, OVMC stated its support of the Certificate of Need (CON) process while its potential buyer, Alecto, is opposed to it. Alecto claims that without the CON, it makes it much easier to acquire OVMC and implies the transaction may be the only way to save the hospital. Alecto is not OVMC’s only suitor. Another entity has and continues to offer a far more substantial and rewarding purchase agreement to OVMC, one that will benefit the hospital and its employees. Alecto’s statement to the news media Friday mentions everything it will do for OVMC’s employees but one thing – ensuring they will have a job. This and other related information should and will be known by the public at the hearing.”

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