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Posted December 17, 2008 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Valley Health to purchase War Memorial

New hospital planned in Morgan

By James Heffernan -- Daily Staff Writer

WINCHESTER -- After nearly 20 years of managing War Memorial Hospital in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., Valley Health has reached an agreement with Morgan County commissioners to purchase the facility for $2.75 million.

The deal, which hinges on approval from the West Virginia Healthcare Authority, would allow for the construction of a new hospital to replace War Memorial, which is more than 50 years old.

Valley Health will pay Morgan County $1.5 million initially, with the remaining $1.25 million to be paid over the next two years, according to Senior Vice President M. Todd Way.

No changes in staffing are anticipated as a result of the merger.

War Memorial is a critical-access hospital with 25 acute-care and physical-rehabilitation beds and a 16-bed extended care unit. Its outpatient services include general and specialty surgical services, a 24-hour emergency department, an all-digital medical imaging department, cardiac rehab, home health and an outpatient rehabilitation and wellness facility.

"Valley Health and War Memorial have developed a strong bond over the last 20 years," Way says in a statement. "We believe residents of Morgan County will benefit from this new relationship, and the additional services and resources Valley Health will bring to the area."

With the addition of War Memorial, Valley Health will have 551 licensed hospital beds and more than 4,700 employees. The regional health care provider also owns and operates hospitals in Winchester, Front Royal, Woodstock and Romney, W.Va.

"This affiliation will have a big impact on the community," says John Borg, administrator of War Memorial. "The prospect of a new hospital is exciting for our patients, and when construction begins, will benefit the economy of Morgan County."

The new facility carries an estimated price tag of $30 million.

Valley Health plans to file required certificate of need applications early next year.

The organization also is awaiting approval to replace Hampshire Memorial Hospital, which it acquired in January, and is expected to submit an application for a new hospital in Luray following its purchase of Page Memorial. Both projects are estimated to cost between $25 and $30 million.

Last month, Valley Health announced plans for a $178 million expansion of its flagship hospital, Winchester Medical Center, to include a six-story tower to house an expanded emergency department, an addition to its heart and vascular center, a new laboratory and a five-story parking deck.

* Contact James Heffernan at jheffernan@nvdaily.com

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