Ironton needs local hospital

Published 1:29 pm Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday’s announcement that a hospital could be on the horizon for Ironton and Lawrence County is certainly welcome news for area residents.

Ironton has not had a hospital since 2001 when River Valley Health Systems went under after years of mismanagement. And while there are still some hurdles to clear, it appears a full-service hospital is a very real possibility.

Lawrence County Health Care Futures, LLC, a consortium of development and health care professionals, announced a medical complex will be constructed off State Route 141 near U.S. 52.

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It will be built on about 20 acres with two phases, with the second phase being predicated on the success of the first.

The first phase will be the construction of a family medical center with extended urgent care hours. The center will be the foundation for other construction, including an imaging center, a surgery center and additional specialty clinical space.

The initial investment is $2 million with the potential for another $18 million, which could create nearly 100 jobs. The announcement is made with a bit of caution. Each step along the way must be financially feasible before construction will begin.

Phase 2 would be the return of a full-service hospital. For that to occur, the group said Phase 1 must have patient and community support.

Certainly, local support is critical for any business. And, provided the level of care is competitive with surrounding health care facilities, the Lawrence County community is eager to support the effort in order to bring a full-service hospital back.

Such an addition not only improves health care opportunities, but would re-establish a sense of pride in the city that was lost when its hospital went under.

Many people worked countless hours over many years to make sure Wednesday’s announcement could be made, and it is clearly a big step in the overall growth of the city and the county.