Friday, January 8, 2010

Firm gets OK to buy hospital (The Journal, Martinsburg, WV)

Officials expect to break ground in early summer

By John McVey, Journal staff writer

MARTINSBURG - As someone who was born at War Memorial Hospital 51 years ago, Neil McLaughlin can vouch for how excited the Morgan County community is over news that Valley Health Systems of Winchester has gotten the go-ahead to buy WMH and to build a new hospital nearby.

"From the Berkeley Springs angle, everyone is excited - this is a project we can move forward with," McLaughlin, the president of War Memorial Hospital, said in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon.

He and Valley Health Systems leaders got the official word Wednesday morning that the West Virginia Healthcare Authority had granted a certificate of need to Valley Health to proceed with purchasing the hospital from the Morgan County Commission and with its construction plans.

Valley Health has managed the hospital located on Fairview Drive outside Berkeley Springs since 1989. Morgan County's commissioners agreed to sell the hospital to Valley Health in December 2008 for about $2.8 million and the promise to build a new health care facility.

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