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Opportunities at Trinity discussed

INFORMATION SESSION — Department managers and other representatives of Trinity Health System met with Martins Ferry residents and employees of East Ohio Regional Hospital at the city’s recreation center on Wednesday afternoon. The session was designed to provide information about health care and employment opportunities at Trinity as EORH prepares to close. -- Jennifer Compston-Strough

MARTINS FERRY — Representatives of Trinity Heath System visited Martins Ferry on Wednesday, sharing information about what Trinity has to offer as the community braces for the planned closure of two other area hospitals.

Meanwhile, a local lawmaker is working in Columbus to find a way to save the hospital in Martins Ferry.

Daniel Dunmyer, president and CEO of East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry and Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling, said earlier this month that the hospitals have lost $37 million over the past two years and, as a result, will close by early October. Both hospitals are owned by California-based Alecto Healthcare Services.

In response, several local health care organizations have informed the staff of EORH and OVMC about employment opportunities that are available. They are also connecting with community members about future health care options.

Laurie Labishak, marketing manager for Steubenville-based Trinity, said those were the goals of the event held Wednesday afternoon at the Martins Ferry Recreation Center. She described the activity as a “meet-and-greet” for the community.

“Basically, Trinity is just reaching out to the community to let them know what’s available both from an employment standpoint and a health care needs standpoint,” Labishak said.

Various department managers from Trinity were on hand to talk with heath care professionals about any immediate openings they were looking to fill. An online job application was available during the event. Other officials were there to speak with potential patients. Labishak said the session was designed as an opportunity to meet the Trinity team and to learn about its ministry.

According to its website, Trinity Health System is part of CommonSpirit Health, a nonprofit, Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people.

Labishak said it is important for all area health care organizations to be proactive as the closure of EORH and OVMC looms.

“It’s going to take all of the health care in the region to absorb the loss, if these hospitals do indeed close,” she said.

Many local residents have speculated that Trinity might help to save EORH by purchasing the facility. However, Labishak said that will not be the case.

“We will not be purchasing the hospital,” she stressed. “I can say that with complete certainty.”

While Trinity representatives were visiting Martins Ferry, state Rep. Jack Cera provided an update on his efforts to prevent the closure of EORH.

Cera, a Democrat from Bellaire, said he has contacted the governor’s office and other state agencies to point out the impact that closing of the hospital would have on access to health care, care for the elderly and the economy of the area.

“I fully understand the importance of EORH to our community and the need to keep this health facility open,” Cera said. “After the recent closure of the hospital in Bellaire, it is clear that closing EORH would have a tremendous negative impact on the Ohio Valley. I will continue to make myself available to help facilitate conversations with state agencies, officials and other parties in the efforts to keep the hospital open.”

Cera said he has talked with Martins Ferry Mayor Robert Krajnyak and other city officials, and his office has reached out to the Department of Medicaid and the Department of Health about the issue.

“Unfortunately, Ohio has witnessed several hospital closings in rural and urban areas throughout the state. We need to review our policies and laws dealing with hospitals to try to stop this trend, as preserving access to health care and hospital services — especially in rural areas — should be a priority issue for all of us,” Cera added.

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