A new critical-access hospital called Adena Fayette Medical Center will be constructed to replace the current Fayette County Memorial Hospital (FCMH) after nearly 70 years of operation.
Adena Health System and FCMH received approvals to move forward with all agreements in unanimous votes by the FCMH Board of Trustees on Jan. 25 and the Adena Board of Trustees and Fayette County Commissioners on Feb. 1.
On Monday, a signing event was held in which Adena and FCMH finalized their agreement for FCMH to become a member of Adena effective May 2. Adena assumed operation management of FCMH on Monday. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed at this time.
FCMH was founded in 1950.
All three Fayette County Commissioners, Dan Dean, Jim Garland and Tony Anderson, expressed relief and happiness that the agreement is finalized so there is no longer a concern that the county will lose its only hospital due to financial struggles.
Garland’s grandfather, Ralph Nisley, was involved in the original bond to build FCMH.
Garland shared the following information from a 1965 newspaper that Carnegie Public Library was able to access via its microfilm records: “the $360,000 bond issue for a Memorial Hospital for Fayette County was adopted by 86.6 percent of the total vote, and Gov. Frank J Lausche named the following men as trustees of the hospital to select a site, approve plans and proceed with the building: Ralph Nisley, Willard Perrill, Howard W. Burnett and George Pensyl.”
Although Dean said FCMH began as a 100-bed facility, the current hospital was changed to a 25-bed critical access hospital as higher reimbursement rates can be gained from Medicaid and Medicare, which is helpful to smaller hospitals with less traffic.
“The mission of Fayette County Memorial Hospital, since its founding in 1950, has been to improve the health of our community through high-quality patient care and education,” FCMH CEO Mike Diener said. “That mission and the desire to be our community’s first choice for healthcare has been the foundation for our decision to initially partner with and now join Adena Health System. Adena has already proven their commitment to providing access to valuable care right here at home.”
According to Adena President and CEO Jeff Graham, Adena has been a part of the local community since 2012 and has been partnered with FCMH since 2018.
“In today’s healthcare landscape, strong, regional networks are vital, and we are excited about Fayette County Memorial Hospital becoming part of our Adena family,” said Graham. “By adding Fayette County Memorial Hospital, we ensure close to home access to critical medical services for the residents of Fayette County and further advance our delivery of care across the region. Our goal is to grow the care here and not to have people leave the county.”
The new hospital, like the current one, is planned to be 25-bed critical access. The new hospital is planned to be located behind the old hospital on Columbus Avenue and will connect to Medical Arts Building 2. Both Medical Arts Building 2 and Medical Arts Building 1 will remain where they are currently located.
The reason for choosing to build a new hospital rather than renovate the current one, according to Graham, is building new is “a better use of your money.”
Graham explained that building new is better for infrastructure and for technology.
“It’s more cost effective over the long haul than it is to rebuild a 70-year-old building,” said Graham.
The current hospital will be left where it is and will continue to operate until the new hospital is built. Once construction of the new hospital is completed, the old hospital will be demolished.
”We are not shutting down any services during the construction phase,” said Graham.
Several services that have grown through partnership with Adena will continue with new services potentially being fostered; however, according to Graham, there will still be no maternity services offered.
“We’ve brought a lot of services already,” said Graham. “As far as other services in the future, maternity is not something that will be expanded. We’ve brought our OBs and GYNs here. The Women’s Wellness Center — we’ve expanded that. As far as delivering newborns, that will not be happening.”
Graham explained maternity services are typically not offered at smaller, critical access hospitals due to cost, volume, and other factors.
“A key component of this agreement is what the future holds for the physicians, advance practice providers and caregivers at Adena Fayette Medical Center and the residents of Fayette County,” said Graham. “We understand the impact localized healthcare has on a community and how a new hospital drives the local economy.”
Staff of FCMH will “remain where they are,” according to Graham. ”Now Fayette is part of a health system. So, there’s career-growth opportunities. There’s a lot more to offer somebody for them to expand their own, personal careers.”
Diener said, “Adena’s desire to come along side us and invest in our caregivers and our campus will ensure our original mission continues in a new hospital that will enhance our ability to deliver quality patient care with advanced medical technology and increased training opportunities for our caregivers. We are eager to take this next step with Adena Health System and look forward to what the future holds for the residents of Fayette County and our surrounding communities.”
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.