Sistersville General Hospital and Wheeling Hospital Form Partnership
SISTERSVILLE — City council has approved proposed plans to sell Sistersville General Hospital to Wheeling Hospital.
During a special meeting Monday, city council unanimously approved a $5.5 million offer from Wheeling Hospital to assume SGH’s debts and liabilities.
Gene Rice, president of the city’s Building Commission which has oversight of the facility, said if everything goes as planned, the sale would be finalized in late April.
“This is a great move and a miracle for the City of Sistersville, SGH and Tyler County,” Rice said.
The partnership between Wheeling Hospital and SGH will enhance and increase medical services in the Tyler County facility.
“We are very pleased SGH and city leaders have placed their trust in our ability to enhance SGH’s long-time commitment to providing its patients with the highest possible level of care. We understand the importance of having a home town hospital one that can provide quality services to its patients,” Wheeling Hospital CEO Ron Violi said in press release issued today.
According to documents obtained from city hall, the sale would include a bridge loan in the amount of $750,000 to immediately cover ongoing expenses until the sale closes. The proposal includes an agreement to continue to operate the hospital and other hospital assets for a minimum of one year after the closing of the transaction.
“This is a win-win package,” Rice said.
Brandon Chadock, interim chief executive officer at SGH, said the hospital’s current level of service would remain the same. SGH staff would remain in place and management staff from Wheeling would work closely with SGH leaders and staff in Sistersville. He praised the accepted proposal as a way SGH could continue to provide quality health care for Tyler County.
“Sistersville General Hospital is excited for the opportunity to work with Wheeling Hospital to further enhance the medical services offered in our community,” he said. “I believe both our organizations share a commitment to building up communities while delivering excellence in healthcare.”
City Recorder Chad Edwards said the transaction preserves the hospital for future generations.
“This will affect the area for the next 50 years,” he said.
Last fall, City leaders and Sistersville General were involved in discussion about the future of the city-owned hospital. Dozens of people attended a council meeting in September, during which then-Sistersville General CEO John May said due to the nature of health care, rural hospitals are at risk of closing as they struggle with government red tape and finances.
Soon after the hospital was put up for bid in December, Rice said, sales proposals were sent to eight health care providers including Wheeling Hospital.
The sale would include the hospital, the Nichols Clinic and the Wiser Building and take over leases at SGH’s rural healthcare clinics in Middlebourne and St. Marys, according to documents obtained from city hall. The agreement would also purchases services provided by SGH from Journey Hospice, Sleep Medicine Center and the EMS and ambulance service, according to documents from city hall.
Rice said the sale of the hospital does not include the EMS squad building on Chelsea Street, property behind the apartments near the hospital or the land where the walking trail is located near the Ohio River.
If SGH’s liabilities after the settlement for the Cost Report for 2017 exceed the minimum $5.5 million sale price, Wheeling Hospital would be solely responsible for any additional liabilities beyond the current estimate liabilities, according to documents obtained from city hall. If the hospitals liabilities are less than the minimum $5.5 million sale price, any excess funds would be placed in an interest bearing escrow account that would be released after the settlement of the Cost Reports for 2017.
The proposal includes an agreement to pay for the costs of the professional liability tail coverage or prior acts coverage in the statutorily requirement amounts insuring SGH. .
The proposal includes an agreement to provide and pay the reasonable costs and expenses incurred by SGH in connection with the transaction, including accounting and legal expenses.
The proposal shall include an acknowledgment and agreement to seek any necessary government approvals, including but not limited to a certificate of need, transfer of license and assignment of provider numbers.
Violi explained that Wheeling Hospital’s philosophy is to help keep patients and their loved ones close to home.
“A hospital visit or stay can be stressful, and being able to receive quality care, close to home, eliminates the added stress and burden of traveling to a distant city,” Violi said. “We look forward to working with SGH and the community to provide continuation of care for Sistersville and Tyler County.”
Wheeling Hospital also operates Belmont Community Hospital in Bellaire, Harrison Community Hospital in Cadiz, the Bishop Joseph H. Hodges Continuous Care Center, the Howard Long Wellness Center, the Wheeling Clinic and health care centers in Wellsburg, Colerain, Bellaire, Bridgeport, Powhatan Point, Shadyside and St. Clairsville.