Over seventy 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 on 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 grandfathers 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 1939 due to lack of funds.
In 1940, the citizens of the community recognized the need and began efforts to reopen the hospital. 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. By 1954, the Twigs, with more than 1,000 women, had raised $36,585 for the 1st addition to the McCartney house. Federal funds allowed $1 of government money for every $2 raised locally. Dedicated February 6, 1954, a staff of 32 was responsible for the daily operation of the 30-bed facility. With an overflow of patients into the hallways, four more rooms were added in 1959 to increase the bed capacity to 53.
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 bigger 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. 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.
Although the last structural addition occurred in 1974, Barnesville Hospital has 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.
The period from 1994 – 1996 marked a period of growth and tremendous changes. 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.
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.
Although the pace and sophistication of healthcare delivery have change drastically since the early days, Barnesville Hospital’s commitment to the community and the community’s support of the hospital have never wavered. Once again Barnesville Hospital is planning to renovate and expand our facility to provide the outstanding healthcare that area residents deserve. The proposed construction will provide additional space to improve patient access, enhance patient privacy, and eliminate over crowding in vital outpatient areas including the Emergency Department. Barnesville Hospital remains committed to providing excellence in rural healthcare, providing quality health care for all area residents.