West Virginia hospital to close, lay off 600 employees

Fairmont (W.Va.) Regional Medical Center notified employees Feb. 18 that it is closing after attempts to find a buyer failed, according to West Virginia MetroNews.

The 207-bed hospital, owned by Irvine, Calif.-based Alecto Healthcare Services, is shutting down after more than a year of searching for a buyer, according to a memo to employees obtained by West Virginia MetroNews. Fairmont Regional CEO Bob Adcock said officials made the decision to close the hospital after "all other reasonable options were considered and explored," according to WDTV.

"You are likely aware of the financial difficulties we have experienced at the hospital," the letter to employees states, according to WDTV. "Our plans to reorganize some administrative functions and develop other revenue sources were insufficient to stop the financial losses at FRMC. Our efforts to find a buyer or new source of financing were unsuccessful."

When Fairmont Regional Medical Center closes, about 600 employees will lose their jobs. Hospital officials told employees Feb. 18 that they will soon receive a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice, but they may not have jobs for the full 60 days covered by the notice, according to West Virginia MetroNews.

The closure announcement comes less than six months after Alecto closed two other hospitals. In September, the company shut down East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry and Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling, W.Va.

In a statement issued Feb. 18, Alecto said Fairmont Regional is facing the same challenges as many other hospitals. 

"Like other hospitals in West Virginia and across the country that are closing, planning to close, or filing for bankruptcy protection, FRMC has faced a number of challenges including difficulties recruiting physicians, vigorous competition from larger health systems for patients and physicians, declining patient volumes, the inability to qualify as a critical access hospital or sole community hospital (and the increased reimbursement from Medicare that comes along with such designations) due to its geographic location and the geographic location of other hospitals, decreasing reimbursement from all payors, increasing operating costs, and a physical plant that has required improvements as it has aged," reads the statement from Alecto, acording to Times West Virginian

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