New ER in Belpre opens

BELPRE – The Memorial Health System expansion of the Health Bridge Medical Park is complete with the opening of the new emergency facility in Belpre.

“I am absolutely pleased as I can be to be here and see this new emergency facility,” said Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz. “Memorial Health System has provided a remarkable transformation for the west end of our city and I think it has really changed how we look at and now do everything here.”

The facility will open to patients at 7 a.m. Friday.

“We have already had people come in and ask if we are open,” said Jennifer Offenberger, director of of marketing and public relations for Memorial Health System, which includes both Selby General and Marietta Memorial hospitals.

Scott Cantley, president and CEO of MHS, said the community has welcomed the new services and buildings with open arms.

“The whole campus has really been embraced by the community and we are pleased with the response from both sides of the Ohio River,” he said. “We felt emergency services are crucial to the health care system and are ready to have the strength of the Marietta emergency room here.”

The new 57,000-square-foot facility is home to a free-standing, fully functional emergency room as well as endoscopy suites and space for physician offices.

“We want people to know this is a fully functioning emergency department and any service they are used to getting at another emergency room, they will be able to receive here,” said Dr. Dan Breece, medical director of the Memorial Health System emergency department.

The department not only includes 20 patient exam rooms and an eight-bed observation unit, but also a full-functioning medical laboratory with the ability to draw and interpret results and imaging services, including a state-of-the-art CAT scan, X-ray and ultrasound. There will also be an ambulance based at the facility around the clock to transfer more critical patients. A helipad has been built to allow helicopters to come for even more urgent cases.

The latest facility is expected to have 50 or more employees and be staffed with the same physicians and nurses as the Marietta Memorial and Selby General hospitals’ emergency departments.

“So, for people who are used to going into the emergency rooms at our facilities in Marietta, there will be many familiar faces and some new ones to help keep things running smoothly,” Breece said.

The new facility was built at a $25 million cost through a partnership between the city of Belpre, the hospital board and the PM Company.

Cantley said the emergency department at Marietta Memorial Hospital has seen a 10 percent growth in visits each year for several years.

“This facility is a great access point and is housed to care for between 30,000 and 35,000 visits annually,” he added.

“Expanding our high level of emergency care beyond the main hospital is part of our overall strategic approach,” Cantley said. “We’re continually finding ways to improve our patients’ access to the trusted experts and valued services they seek with the Memorial Health System.”