Ironton Medical Center Aims To Bring Services Back To Region

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It's been 11 years since River Valley Health Systems closed its hospital in Ironton.

Local residents with emergency room needs have been forced to travel outside the city.
Ralph Kline, with the Ironton-Lawrence County Area Community Action Organization, says construction is well underway on a new $18-million dollar medical center building in downtown Ironton.
"Well this project, it's a stand-alone, or what they call a free-standing emergency room along with all the supportive services and that's what St. Mary's brings to the table here, they'll be opening up a 24, 7 emergency room certified for certain trauma, that type of thing.  It would have all the imaging, diagnostics, labs, that sort of thing that would support that facility," says Kline. In addition, the community actiona agency, which has a federally-qualified health center, will be putting in and expanding primary care, pediatric care, and dental care facilities.  Kline says St. Mary's Medical Center will bring a specialty clinic to the area.
It's called the St. Mary's Medical Campus Ironton project after the St. Mary's Medical Center in nearby Huntington. "The stand-alone emergency room is a fairly new model that we're seeing in other parts of the state and here in the nation, because of the high cost of all this specialty work and things like that. It does give a little community those emergency services and not necessarily all the other costly operations of a hospital." 
Kline says the new Ironton facility will be two-story and 46,000 square feet. He estimates the current construction of the building to be about 60 percent complete and anticipates the building will open in March with all facilities running by May.
Kline says several entities combined forces to make this project happen.
"I would like to emphasize that this is a partnership between the various development organizations, the community and St. Mary's in order to establish this. This has been a long term effort to bring back a lot of the lost medical services when the former hospital within the community shut down," says Kline. 
Kline also points out the project will result in 75 new jobs.