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RVHS deal could close next week

The deal to sell the old River Valley hospital to Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital is inching closer toward reality.

The Lawrence County Commission Thursday approved a resolution executing a quick claim deed in anticipation of next week's expected finalization.

The quick claim deed is needed to provide a clear title to the campus and contiguous properties. The county must authorize the deed since all of the hospital's properties are held in the name of the county.

Commissioner Paul Herrell told county attorney Randall Lambert that he hopes attention can soon be turned to settling money matters with former employees.

Lambert said the 400-plus former employees have been paid back wages that were due them, but there are still three major benefit issues that have yet to be resolved. Some employees are still owed holiday and sick leave pay, and some employees are still saddled with medical bills because the hospital had a self-insurance fund, and when the facility closed there was no means to pay employees' medical claims.

Lambert told the board that while they can encourage action on behalf of the employees, the final decision ultimately rests with the bankruptcy court.

Herrell said he thinks the employees deserve priority status.

"We're definitely going to push for them," Herrell said. "This wasn't their fault. I want to see the employees get what's due them. They've really been hurt in this episode." Teresa Moore/The Ironton Tribune