Barnesville Hospital History

Over seventy five years ago our local leaders knew the importance of a health care facility in our community when Barnesville Hospital was established. Today, our families and our communities are the beneficiaries of those who invested their time, energy, and resources to make Barnesville Hospital a reality.

The hospital had its inception in the home of Mrs. Nora Hagedorn McCord, who in 1928 opened her home at 808 East Main Street as a maternity hospital. About one year later, Dr. Jesse T. McCartney realized this was inadequate for the community’s needs and opened his grandfather’s West Main Street home, originally known as the Thomas Parker mansion. In the spring of 1929, the 1st tonsillectomy was performed. With help from Wheeling Clinic, the hospital was dedicated in 1932. This facility, with a bed capacity of 16, was forced to close in November 1939 due to lack of funds.

By the fall of 1940, the citizens of the community recognized the need and began efforts to reopen the hospital. 18 beds were provided in the McCartney house. Henry Fiechter, a part-time bookkeeper, and a group of 33 women met and formed the Hospital Branch which in turn organized the Twigs. The Twigs, who are the working units of the Hospital Auxiliary, began their work in March 1941. The hospital utilized by area residents from 1940 to 1953 served its purpose, but services and facilities were limited.  It became apparent in the early 1950s that more beds were necessary and additional services must be provided to keep abreast of advancing medical technology.  By 1954, 45 Twigs, under the guidance of Mrs. Willard Groves and with more than 1,000 women, had raised $36,585 for the first addition to the McCartney house. Federal funds allowed that for every $2 raised locally the government would invest $1. Dedicated February 6, 1954, the central portion of the hospital visible from West Main Street provided new laboratory and x-ray departments, a modern operating room, and new labor and delivery rooms.  A staff of 32, including full time laboratory and x-ray technicians, was responsible for the daily operation of the 33-bed facility. For the first time, a radiologist was available to serve the hospital one day each week.  Another step forward in hospital services came in 1957 when a surgeon established residence in Barnesville.  Prior to that time, surgery had been done on a visiting basis by surgeons from Cambridge and Wheeling.  With an overflow of patients into the hallways, more rooms were added in 1959 to increase the bed capacity to 53.  1959 was another milestone year for the hospital when a second surgeon established residence.

In 1963, with a bed capacity of 53, there were 3,146 admissions and 400 emergency room visits. With the support of a bequest of more than $100,000 from the estate of the late Albert S. George, a 22-bed addition was completed in 1964. It included a new pediatrics room, an examination room, an additional surgery and recovery room with modernization of the entire operating suite, a new and larger laboratory, an enlarged radiology department, a new labor room, and a new nurses’ lounge in the maternity suite. The latest and most modern equipment was added. The medical staff consisted of 10 general staff physicians, as well as specialty physicians from the outlying areas.

The largest addition to the hospital occurred in 1974 with the demolition of the McCartney home allowing room for construction on the north side of the 1954 building. This project provided 40 more patient beds, remodeled the wards, and allowed for the expansion of services. During that year, the maternity section was closed. The dietary department was enlarged and pharmacy was modernized. Physical therapy and beauty shop services were added. Construction brought the total bed capacity to 105, including six acute coronary-intensive care beds. Featured speaker at the dedication, Congressman Wayne L. Hayes stated, “The hospital and its latest addition is a prime example of what a village of dedicated citizens can accomplish.” The new Clara Groves Memorial Wing was named in memory of Mrs. Clara A. Groves who was instrumental in the organizing the Twigs in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.

Barnesville Hospital continued to modernize existing facilities and provide new services. During the period from 1980 – 1993, Barnesville Hospital initiated nuclear medicine studies, ultrasound scanning, computed tomography (CT) services, electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG), mammography, echocardiography, and laparoscopic surgery. In 1987, the hospital initiated swing bed, skilled nursing services to meet the changing needs of the community. Also in 1987, Richard L. Doan returned to his hometown community to become CEO of the organization where, for 25 years, it grew into one of stability and consistency.  During his tenure, Doan also achieved many personal awards.   Doan became a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE), the nation’s leading professional society for healthcare leaders dedicated to improving healthcare delivery.  On August 26, 2009, Doan was announced as the recipient of the Administrator of the Year@ award by the Ohio State Office of Rural Health.

In August 1987, Barnesville Hospital was rewarded with its inaugural full accreditation by the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. In 1993, the hospital embarked on a major project in quality and performance improvement when it became a member of the Healthcare Consortium of Ohio, sponsored by Ohio State University Hospitals.  That affiliation remains active today with membership in the Ohio State Health Network.

The period from 1994 – 1996 marked a period of growth and tremendous change. Successful medical staff development resulted in the recruitment of many physicians providing both primary and specialty services. Enhancements to available services continued, including implementation of cardiac rehabilitation, occupational therapy, home medical social services, and reestablishment of ophthalmology services. A clinical affiliation with The Ohio State University evolved into a regional network of healthcare providers.

In 1997, another major hospital renovation project was completed with support from the hospital family and the community. This created a state-of-the-art critical/intensive care unit, expanded and reconfigured patient service areas, improved the physical plant, and improved accessibility for the physically disabled. Boasting a staff of 50 physicians, representing 17 specialties, it offered employment to more than 360 people and had an annual operating budget of $17 million.

Barnesville Hospital began offering an outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation program in 1998. This newly developed program provides educational sessions on topics related to lung disease and its control, as well as a medically approved exercise program consisting of aerobic conditioning and strength and flexibility training. Cardiovascular lab services were expanded with the addition of comprehensive vascular and cardiac ultrasound examinations.  As a diagnostic tool, the lab evaluates the function of the heart, arteries, and veins throughout the body by the use of ultrasound. Clinical speech therapy services provides diagnosis and treatment of swallowing disorders, speech and language difficulties associated with stroke or brain injuries, laryngeal/voice disorders, stuttering, foreign accent reduction, and developmental disorders.

Barnesville Hospital received federal designation as a Critical Access Hospital in July 2004. This status is awarded to select small, rural hospitals considered necessary providers of healthcare services to residents in their area. Critical access status allows hospitals to receive cost-based reimbursement for services provided to Medicare patients. Critical access hospitals must provide 24-hour emergency services, along with inpatient care, laboratory, and radiology services. A Critical Access Hospital must have no more than 25 total beds.

In 2004, Barnesville Hospital joined an elite 2% of the nation’s hospitals when it was recognized as one of the “Top 100 Performance Improvement Hospitals.” The award recognized the top hospitals that had developed an effective, organization-wide culture of performance improvement.

Diagnostic capabilities have been enhanced in the last decade, from 2005 to 2015, with the addition of computed radiography, electronic picture archiving and communication system (PACS), CT angiography, expansion of laboratory in-house testing, adenosine cardiac stress testing, digital mammography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services. Computed radiography is designed to enhance image quality by providing greater contrast and sharper edges for interpretation and display.  CT angiography is a non-invasive contrast enhanced approach which visualizes blood flow in arterial and venous vessels throughout the body, from arteries serving the brain to those bringing blood to the lungs, kidneys, arms, & legs.  Expanding in-house lab testing allows a quicker turn-around time for the physician to get results, thus promoting earlier diagnosis and treatment.  For patients unable to withstand the standard treadmill stress test, the drug Adenosine simulates exercise by dilating coronary arteries and increasing blood flow to the heart.  Comparing patient response, resting and after the simulated exercise aids in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease.  Digital mammography is shown to be more sensitive in the detection of breast cancer and exposes women to less radiation. Digital mammography also provides improvements in image storage and transmission allowing off site radiologists to read and assess the images in real time.  MRI scanning, using magnets, radio waves, and computers, has become an industry standard for imaging all parts of the body.  The quick, painless procedure creates detailed, cross sectional pictures to assist physicians in planning treatment.

For an unprecedented 2 consecutive years, 2011 and 2012, Barnesville Hospital was named one of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in the country. These Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals, including Barnesville Hospital, scored best among critical access hospitals on the iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength Index™. In this first-ever comprehensive rating of CAHs, the results recognize the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals that are the safety net to communities across America – measuring them across 56 different performance metrics, including quality, outcomes, patient perspective, affordability and efficiency.

Hospital Administration and Board Leadership made the decision in 2014 that Now is the Time to significantly redesign, expand, and enhance the most essential department of the hospital for the community.   The existing Emergency Department had grown over-crowded and the design and access made it inefficient and inconvenient for patients and staff alike.  The expansion and renovation project remedied those problems and provides the attractive, convenient, and efficient facility that the people in Belmont, Monroe, Guernsey, Noble, and Harrison counties need, and that our physicians and hospital staff deserve as they strive to provide an even higher level of care.

Fully completed in 2015, the new Emergency Department offers

  • Private treatment rooms, providing adequate room for staff, equipment, and family members,
  • Increased number of treatment rooms, from 3 to 8, reducing wait time and enhancing comfort,
  • Enhanced triage capabilities to expedite life-saving care,
  • Addition of a secure room for mental health treatment and potentially volatile patients, increasing safety for staff, visitors, and patients,
  • State of the art patient monitoring and technology,
  • A private waiting room for family and patients,
  • The area’s flow pattern will be redesigned, with improved and more private access to surgery and inpatient units,
  • An alternative to the emergency room for non-emergent conditions.

Although the pace and sophistication of healthcare delivery has changed drastically since the early days, Barnesville Hospital’s commitment to the community and the community’s support of the hospital have never wavered. Barnesville Hospital remains committed to providing excellence in rural healthcare, providing quality health care for all area residents. Barnesville Hospital is committed to the vision that the hospital will always be a progressive leader and a vital center of community health activities in Barnesville and throughout southeastern Ohio. For more information about Barnesville Hospital or the services provided, visit the hospital’s website at, “like” us on Facebook, or contact Peggy Douglass, Director of Education & Outreach at (740) 425-5158.