WMC Emergency Expansion to Meet Community Demand

(WEIRTON, WV) November 7, 2023– Up to 40,000—that’s how many patient visits occur each year at Weirton Medical Center’s Emergency Department. However, built in 1978, the anticipated yearly volume of ER visits was approximately 24,000, so it was built to handle just 60% of current volume.  That’s why WMC is in the process of a major $9M expansion project to meet the increased community need.

Several factors have driven the increase in ER visits at WMC.  As the sole emergency provider in WV north of Wheeling and being the only Trauma designated (Level IV) emergency provider in the Weirton-Steubenville area, WMC is often the first choice for emergency medical services in the area.  Also, local demographic changes have impacted this increase in ER volumes at WMC.  Over the past two decades, there has been a significant increase in Medicaid-eligible patients.

 Joi Gorlock, WMC Chief Nursing Officer stated, “A third of all our emergency department patients at WMC are classified as either Medicaid, Charity Care or Self Pay often with limited access to transportation and primary care.  This limited access causes many Medicaid families to use the emergency services for all their medical care needs.”

As a result, WMC provides approximately $2.2M per year in charity and uncompensated care for emergency patients.

Due to WMC’s recent growth, expanding emergency services requires the relocation of several other hospital departments.  As part of the project, WMC has relocated its laboratory and is currently in the process of relocating and building a new Gastroenterology Center.  These moves will set the stage for WMC to begin the final phase of redesigning and expanding the current Emergency Department. 

“When we are completed, this project will allow WMC to offer the community state of the art Laboratory and Gastroenterology services with an upgraded, expanded and renovated Emergency Department,” says David Artman, WMC Chief Operations Officer.

Funding for the $9M project has come through a variety of sources, including a $6.4M bond issued by WMC in 2022. 

John Frankovitch, WMC President and CEO stated, “With recent economic development activity in the area such as Form Energy, it is crucial we have an emergency department that meets the needs of the community.  We have begun the process of working with Senator Manchin and Senator Capito to apply for funding for the final stage of the project through a Federal HRSA grant.  We were able to fund the first phases internally, but Federal support will enable us to complete the final stage of the project to meet the increase in community demand.  Our mission is always to provide the exceptional, compassionate healthcare services our community has come to expect from the entire WMC family.”