Camden Clark Medical Center, officials dedicate new Parkersburg cardiac facility
PARKERSBURG — The future of heart care in the Mid-Ohio Valley is strong as the new Parkersburg Cardiology Associates and the WVU Heart & Vascular Institute building at the WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center was officially dedicated Thursday.
A formal ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the building, adjacent to Camden Clark’s medical office building, with elected officials, hospital officials, physicians and community members in attendance.
“This building represents the rich culture and history of two hospitals that came together,” said Steve Altmiller, president and CEO of WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center. “St. Joseph’s Hospital and Camden Clark came together eight years ago and jointly became part of WVU Medicine in 2011.
“Today, we have health care providers from all three entities working together to meet the health care needs of our community.”
The two-story 26,500-square-foot building is a partnership among Camden Clark, Parkersburg Cardiology Associates and the WVU Heart & Vascular Institute.
“Because of this partnership, we are able to meet the cardiac health care needs of the community,” Altmiller said. “The local cardiac care here is the most comprehensive in the Mid-Ohio Valley region.”
The $9.5 million medical office building houses the hospital’s cardiopulmonary rehabilitation services and Parkersburg Cardiology Associates and the services they provide, all under one roof.
Work began on the site in November 2017. It officially opened on Feb. 4.
The building consists of the cardiology suite on the first floor with 25 exam rooms and support spaces, physician offices and nurse practitioners as well as a congestive heart failure clinic, lab, business operations, conference room, reception and large waiting area with restrooms and vending.
The second floor consists of a large area for cardiac rehabilitation, an outpatient testing suite which includes stress testing, nuclear cameras, echocardiograms, vascular ultrasounds, EECP, a pacemaker and device clinic, along with reception and waiting areas.
There are seven board certified cardiologists with room to expand three more positions and six nurse practitioners which are also expanding.
Dr. David Gnegy, president of Parkersburg Cardiology Associates and vice president of medical affairs for Camden Clark, paid tribute to Dr. Mike Santer, the founder of Parkersburg Cardiology Associates, by reading the original mission statement he wrote when the organization first started 47 years ago.
“Parkersburg Cardiology Associates strives to provide compassionate, appropriate and comprehensive cardiac services to all people,” he read. “We as physicians try to lead by example in medicine as well in our community.”
He went on to read that they encourage patient participation in their health care decisions and for the doctors to continue their education as both teachers and students.
“I think that has guided us and served us well through the last 47 years,” Gnegy said.
He recognized Santer and Dr. M. David Avington, who were present at the ceremony, for all the work they did in building Parkersburg Cardiology Associates into what it became.
“They had the foresight to create the first cardiac care unit in the state of West Virginia,” Gnegy said. “They developed the first catheterization laboratory at St. Joseph’s Hospital with physicians from Morgantown coming down to help them.”
From there more doctors came that could do a wide variety of cardiac procedures, which included doing pacemakers and finally open heart procedures in 2004. Services have continued to grow since then resulting in the new building where people can now come to one single location for cardiac care.
They now have over 300 patients who come in for services daily and that number is growing.
“The completion of this building brings all outpatient cardiac services under one roof,” Gnegy said. “This is truly about our community and our patients.”
John Vickers, CEO of Parkersburg Cardiology Associates, said they have come a long way to get to this point.
They now have 60 people working with them and many more over the years who helped get them to this point.
“We have the most incredible group of people working here,” he said. “We have a building that matches the people we have working here.”
Albert L. Wright Jr., president and CEO of the West Virginia University Health System, spoke about the beginning of the process that resulted in the creation of this new building and how it has all come together.
He spoke about how WVU Medicine has invested hundreds of millions of dollars around the state to create new state-of-the-art facilities that are integrated to improve medical care for the state across specialties that will benefit the entire state. Doctors here can be in immediate contact with doctors in Morgantown consulting and offering input on any particular case.
“You are getting the exact same level of care wherever you are at,” Wright said.
WVU Medicine only does open heart procedures in Morgantown and Parkersburg.
Wright said they are building close partnerships, like the one with Parkersburg Cardiology Associates, that are strong and that is a “win-win-win” situation for everyone involved.
“This is a great example of an independent physicians group, a local community hospital and a large academic health system coming together to form something special,” Wright said.
Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce, who had previously worked for St. Joseph’s Hospital and Camden Clark Medical Center, said he misses the people at the hospital the most.
“It is the people that make this place special,” he said. “That is what makes this community special.”