With Alecto Healthcare Services’ closure of Fairmont Regional Medical Center, a void has been left in Marion County.

In its absence, two health systems are vying to open services in Marion County, and we welcome both.

The first, WVU Medicine, has put forth a proposal that may eventually lead to a 100-bed hospital in Fairmont, although their first letter of intent calls for only a 10-bed hospital and minimal emergency department services. In a second letter of intent, WVU Medicine outlines plans for a new 25-bed hospital within 32 months of approval of its Certificate of Need.

The second health system, Mon Health, has also filed a letter of intent and is ready to move forward with the construction of a 10-bed hospital immediately.

We believe the state should approve both Certificates of Need.

Having multiple health care options locally is important for our community, and in the absence of Fairmont Regional Medical Center, we are in need of as many local health systems as we can get.

In a press release, Mon Health argues against Governor Jim Justice’s suggestion that the stat’s certificate of need laws might be set aside for WVU Medicine so they can establish themselves more quickly.

“Mon Health System was the first to file a Certificate of Need application for a new hospital in the Fairmont region recognizing a need for continued quality health care in Marion County. There has been no indication from the Governor that the possible set-aside of the Certificate of Need law will be applied in a fair and equal manner for any other independent entity, including Mon Health, to more quickly proceed with its project.

“What is happening across West Virginia is a perceived focus toward a single source of health care by one nonprofit dominant health care system. National evidence shows that this leads to increased costs, diminished efficiency of convenient access, and ultimately a market monopoly. Most of all, the choice patients have and the right of citizens to choose where they want to get health care is taken away from them.”

We would agree with Mon Health that if the state waives certificate of need laws for one entity, it should apply to all interested parties. We also believe the presence of both hospitals could provide more choices for our community and a greater number of available beds.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for accessible and affordable health care, both in our county and abroad, and we would welcome healthy competition between two local hospitals, as well as the jobs they would bring.

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