After nearly 70 years of operation, Fayette County Memorial Hospital (FCMH) became Adena Fayette Medical Center (AFMC) in early May following Adena Health System purchasing the local hospital.
There is a plan in place to build a new hospital behind the current one on Columbus Avenue. Both Medical Arts Building 2 and Medical Arts Building 1 will remain where they are currently located. Until the new hospital is complete, the current hospital will continue to operate. The new hospital, like the current one, is planned to be 25-bed critical access.
According to documents shared with the R-H by local Mary Kay West, over 2,500 community residents attended the dedication of FCMH on May 7, 1950. The hospital, originally called “Memorial Hospital” in honor of the county’s servicemen of all wars, first opened it’s doors on May 8 in 1950.
One of the documents (credited to the Fayette County Historical Society) explain that a county bond issue was able to provide the funding to build the building, but due to unexpected, increased inflation following World War II, the money was not enough to furnish the building or operate it. A $25,000 community fundraising campaign began and, after 30 years of not having a local hospital, $61,312 was raised.
In light of the recent transition, the R-H interviewed two current staff members and one former staff member.
Angie Curtis, MPT, works for the hospital as manager of Rehab Operations. She first started working for the hospital approximately 20 years ago in May of 2001.
“I am a physical therapist and the director of physical, occupational, and speech therapy. I continue to treat patients part-time, as well as manage rehab staff, work on process improvement and quality measures within the therapy department,” explained Curtis via email.
While she is now a manager, Curtis explained the majority of her time at FCMH was spent as a clinical physical therapist.
“That’s where my favorite memories lie. I love my job and working with patients. I love that our patients regularly return to us, and that we make our clinic as fun and light-hearted as possible. Our therapy staff works well as a team, and we try to make all of our patients feel special,” wrote Curtis.
When asked if there was something in particular she would miss about FCMH, Curtis explained, “I love the small, family aspect of the hospital, and I hope this doesn’t change. Even though we are now a part of a much larger organization, our patients should not notice a change in how we operate or provide services.”
Curtis further explained, ”The rehab departments at Adena’s other facilities have already been welcoming and helpful and are helping to increase our Occupational Therapy services. We already work very interactively with our local Adena orthopedic physicians and anticipate that this relationship will continue. This offers our patients a seamless pathway between ortho and therapy.”
When asked how she felt about having a new facility to work in once the new hospital is built, Curtis wrote, “I cannot wait. It is such a necessity for this community. This building has served us well, but is outdated and difficult to upgrade. I believe the new facility will allow us to safely provide even more services and keep healthcare local.”
Tiffany Hollar, MSN, RN works as a critical access hospital quality manager for Adena Health System.
Her job responsibilities includes auditing charts for data required to be reported to CMS and other regulatory bodies, supporting department leadership in improving results for these measures and other identified process or care issues, supporting departments and leadership in preparing for regulatory surveys, and supporting work in patient safety, patient experience, and infection prevention.
Hollar just completed 31 years working for the local hospital in January of this year.
“I have several favorite memories, but the common theme is that they all required teamwork to make sure the patient had the best possible outcome from their treatment here. As an OR nurse, I was privileged to help deliver babies by C-section and thus got to share in the joy of a new life, and in the ED (Emergency Department), I was privileged to hold the hand of someone who was dying or comfort the family of someone who had died,” explained Hollar. “I always miss people that I have worked with for years when they leave, and due to the transition to Adena, some people chose to retire or leave prior to the change. I will miss seeing these individuals and interacting with them both professionally and personally.”
When asked how she felt about having a new facility to work in once the new hospital is built, Hollar wrote, “Of course this is exciting! Our current facility has served us well but, as healthcare delivery has changed, (the current hospital) of course has not been able to change to the degree needed to accommodate this. It will be exciting to have bright patient spaces that feel private and healing for our patients in the ED, bigger OR suites to accommodate the needs of our surgery patients, and easier access for everyone that comes into our facility.”
When asked if there is something in particular she is looking forward to about working under Adena or having an Adena hospital in the community, Hollar wrote, “I am really looking forward to working with the people who do the same work that I do, so that I can learn from them and grow with them as we continue to address the changes in healthcare. I was the only (Critical Access Hospital) Quality RN for FCMH, so it will be nice to have this support system and collective knowledge going forward.”
Mary Kay West was a nurse for approximately 25 years at FCMH before she retired and, prior to that, worked as a ward secretary for the hospital.
“I miss the healthcare system of yesterday—I miss the dedication and the loyalty and the commitment to a community and to a hospital that we had then. We were so blessed—our community, with our medical staff. We had two of the best surgeons in the state of ohio. We had a wonderful medical staff. Back then you didn’t have many specialties. You know, you had the OB of course. We did have orthopedic. Course we have specialties for everything now. But our physicians back then, they treated the whole patient,” explained West when asked what she missed the most. “Same way with nursing. If they can make more money (now)—50 cents up the road, that’s where they’re going to go.”
Although for many seeing FCMH change to Adena has been emotional, West explained it isn’t a bad thing.
“We’ve had many different management and partnerships with different hospitals, but Adena has always, to me, been the one that has valued a small, community hospital. For example, even before they started negotiating to purchase (FCMH), our hospital board closed our Oncology unit. It was devastating—it was devastating to our patients, it was devastating to our nurses. You talk about love and devotion and commitment to patients, and those nurses have got it. (Adena) recognized the need—stepped right in and helped us tremendously (and made sure the unit was opened). It’s a wonderful thing in the respect our patients can stay at home (and), you look at it from the other perspective, it’s devastating to know how many people are faced daily with fighting for their lives.”
“Look what we have to look forward to—a new hospital, which we desperately needed. I mean, you can only band-aide so much so often, and to have that for our community is a blessing in itself. I appreciate Adena for finding small community hospitals worthwhile in investment,” said West. “I hope that they understand where we came from and what brought us here and appreciate that. I can’t say enough to our staff—the oldies but goodies—that have stayed there throughout the many changes, and they have been the glue that has held our hospital together through decades. Because they have been committed, they have been loyal, and they have been dedicated. So, a huge thank you to them, and I thank Adena for stepping up.”
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.