UPDATE: Marion County delegates write letter urging to keep FRMC open
Marion County delegates wrote a letter to Alecto Healthcare services Monday urging them to keep Fairmont Regional Medical Center open.
The letter, written by Delegates Mike Caputo, Linda Lonstreth and Michael Angelucci said that their concerns came from the sudden layoff of 25 employees on Sept. 18.
"Our hospital, FRMC, is in the only hospital in Marion County, WV and employs over 600 West Virginians -- with over 70% residing in the country," the letter said. : The facility is a vital part of our community that provides critical healthcare services and economic stability."
The delegates said in the letter that they are ready to assist Alecto in any way possible.
"We are available to facilitate meetings and develop a plan of action with administration, staff, government officials, and all other invested parties," the letter said.
County Commissioners said Wednesday they have also been in contact with the hospital administration.
"Their plans are to remain here," Commission President Randy Elliott told 5 News. "They made that clear to us, that they're not going to be shutting down anytime soon. We do need a critical care hospital here in Marion County. We hope they're going to be here for a long time."
25 employees who went to work at Fairmont Regional Medical Center Wednesday morning were forced to leave early after they learned they no longer had a job.
Multiple employees told 5 News they were laid off Wednesday with no prior warning.
The layoffs span a variety of non-direct patient care positions, according to a spokesperson for California-based Alecto Healthcare Services, the parent company of the hospital.
"Like a lot of hospitals, Fairmont has had some declines in patient volumes," Executive Vice President Michael Sarrao told 5 News. "As we adjust for those declines, we did some reorganization within the administrative functions and eliminated 25 positions, which resulted in 25 people being laid off today."
Sarrao said there are no short-term or long-term plans to close the hospital.
"It's really an effort to fortify Fairmont so it can continue to serve the needs of the community for the years to come," Sarrao said.
The hospital was purchased by Alecto in June 2014 when it was known as Fairmont General Hospital. It was renamed Fairmont Regional Medical Center in September 2014.
The sale came after "years of financial uncertainty," according to Alecto's website page profiling the hospital. The hospital filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in September 2013, the site said, after its Board of Directors voted in December 2011 to search for a strategic partner.
Alecto also owns Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling and East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry, Ohio. The hospitals last month announced they were beginning the process to close completely after posting losses of $37 million over the past two years.
Sarrao said the challenges those hospitals faced were unique to their market and different from Fairmont Regional Medical Center's difficulties.
"Although Fairmont faces challenges, they don't face the challenges that OVMC and East Ohio faced," Sarrao said. "There are a different set of circumstances. This is part of a normal process. It's always tough, to try to reorganize administrative functions and be as efficient as possible."
Sarrao also addressed the current financial standing of Fairmont Regional Medical Center.
"We have certain vendors that we need to get caught up - more current with," Sarrao said. "We, like most hospitals, struggle with getting payments paid in time from Medicaid and other payers. But it's much different than up north."