Williamson Memorial Hospital to reopen with $2 million in federal funding
MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - It has been a difficult two years since Williamson Memorial Hospital, Mingo County’s only hospital, closed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Anytime we need health care or anything like that, we either have to go across the river into the state of Kentucky or 30 minutes away to Pikeville or Logan,” said Richard Griffey, a lifelong Williamson resident.
“We deal with a lot of transportation in this area, so a lot of people live here, they’re on foot,” Griffey said.
Joey Carey, Williamson’s Fire Chief and Building Inspector, said the closure has added stress to first responders working to get residents medical assistance in times of emergency.
“There’s been an overcrowding of the ER, not a whole lot of ICU beds available, folks are waiting sometimes a day or two and holding in the ER to get a bed somewhere, and then the wait times for the local EMS has been just astronomical lately,” he said. “We have a lot of elderly folks that live in this town, who require a lot of attention medically and losing the hospital was a huge impact on our city, for our elderly population and also a business and jobs for the city.”
However, there is now hope restored in the city. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced Wednesday that $2 million in federal funding had been secured to re-open the hospital. The funding includes. support of the purchase of new equipment, including laboratory upgrades and ultrasound technology, and providing permanent working capital for hospital operations.
Since the hospital’s closure, Williamson’s Health and Wellness Center has operated several clinics in the former hospital’s building and has worked to be part of the hospital’s reopening.
“This hospital means a lot to the community,” the Wellness Center’s CEO Dr. Dino Beckett said. “Us being able to re reestablish the hospital is going to be a very key role in helping us bring back vitality to the area.”
Beckett said upon its initial opening, about 80 jobs will be available.
“Anything that’s gonna bring jobs or help grow the economy is going to help any small town,” Griffey said.
“We need the hospital and we need it to be operational, we need the emergency room,” Carey said.
“If we’re ever going to build anything in this town as far as tourism and bring more people here, a hospital is a very integral part of that entire plan.”
The hospital is on track to open by around Christmas.
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