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St. Mary's to mark first year of Ironton facility

Jul. 12, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- After a year, the St. Mary's Medical Center campus in Ironton means a lot more to the community than the nearly 100 jobs it provides.

The $18.5 million, 46,000-square-foot medical campus provides emergency care to Ironton area residents. Both St. Mary's and the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization provide medical personnel for the medical campus on a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week basis.

St. Mary's is celebrating the one-year anniversary of operations at the Ironton campus with a community event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 1408 Campbell Drive. Free refreshments, including hot dogs, chips, cupcakes and yogurt provided by Tropical Moon, will be available. There also will be inflatables for kids and free health screenings from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., said Angela Henderson-Bentley, St. Mary's manager of public relations.

"I think the medical campus has given the city a sense of hope," said Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship. "It shows that we have quality health care. We appreciate the investment St. Mary's has made in our community. We're just proud they're here. They add so much to our community."

When the medical campus started offering emergency care a year ago, it was the first time the Ironton community had access to round-the-clock emergency care in more than 10 years. River Valley Medical Center closed in 2001, putting some 400 people out of work and leaving the county without a hospital.

"St. Mary's' first year at the Ironton campus has far exceeded our expectations," said Tim Parnell, St. Mary's vice president for support services, development and planning. "Patients have told us they appreciate the short wait times and caring staff at our 24/7 ER, and it shows in the high volume of people we've treated in the first 12 months."

"We couldn't be more happy for what we've been able to do there," Henderson-Bentley said.

St. Mary's employs about 70 people at the medical campus.

"It's kind of hard to believe, looking back at it," said D.R. Gossett, executive director of the community action organization, which has about 30 employees at the medical campus. "It's pretty amazing frankly. We had a business model that worked. We have critical care infrastructure in the county. It's something the community should have."

The community action organization operates seven medical clinics around the county and has five medical providers, including doctors, a dentist and a nurse practitioner at the medical campus along Ohio 141, just off the U.S. 52 interchange. The organization is looking to bring more physicians and a licensed social worker to the medical campus and for its family clinics, Gossett said.

An Air Evac Lifeteam based at the medical campus will have a ribbon cutting for its new helicopter hangar at 10 a.m. Saturday. At 1 p.m., team members also will have a helicopter demonstration.

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