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Ohio Valley Hospital - Close, Like Family for More Than 100 Years
By Kevin Brown

In the late 1890's, Pittsburgh was a prosperous center of industry with steel, mining and other growing industries. Railroads were an essential part of the economy. Dr. Samuel McCune Black, a physician with the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, needed a place to treat ill and injured employees. He founded McKees Rocks General Hospital in Norwood, a neighborhood of McKees Rocks.

As the hospital grew, Dr. Black saw a need for more nurses so he opened a School of Nursing in 1901. The first student, Annabell McAnulty, graduated in 1904, and would spend her entire nursing career at the hospital.

Within a few years, community demand for the hospital's services led to the hospital becoming chartered on December 31, 1906 as the non-profit Ohio Valley General Hospital.

Over the next 24 years, the hospital would continue to grow in serving the people of Pittsburgh's western suburbs. When the Great Depression hit the country in 1929, some local hospitals foundered but the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth took over management of the Ohio Valley General Hospital. It remained a non-sectarian, community hospital and not only survived the depression, it continued to thrive.

By the end of World War II, the hospital had outgrown its original site and ground was broken in 1947 for a new hospital along nearby Heckel Road in Kennedy Township. The land had been the 110-acre farm of Dr. Heckel, who passed away in 1942. His sisters sold the land to the hospital.

The new hospital opened in the spring of 1949. In 1956, a new building was built at the hospital site for the School of Nursing. A School of Radiologic Technology opened at the hospital in 1963 to train radiologic technologists.

In 1968, a three-story edition to the hospital was built along with renovation of the School of Nursing. Known as the North Wing, the new hospital addition contained new operating rooms along with an expanded Emergency Department and outpatient facilities.

A Medical Office Building opened in 1988 next to the hospital to provide office space for the growing medical staff.

Another floor was added to the hospital in 1994 for a larger intensive care unit, the adult psychiatric unit, respiratory therapy and cardiac rehabilitation.

By 2000, the hospital decided to venture into senior living and built a personal care home, The Residence at Willow Lane, across the road from hospital. Senior Living at The Willows now encompasses personal care, independent living and Pathways, a newer facility for memory care.

Ohio Valley General Hospital celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006. In recognizing the success of the hospital over those 100 years, then-President and CEO William F. Provenzano, FACHE, said, "The fact that a community hospital has thrived in a healthcare climate that favors large systems is a testament to the excellence and dedication of our medical staff and all our employees, and to the loyalty of area  residents."

Current President and CEO David Scott, FACHE, has been with the hospital for more than 30 years. He was appointed to lead the hospital following Mr. Provenzano's retirement in 2010 and witnessed the transformation of the local healthcare marketplace.

"Our goal is to work in conjunction with all the major health systems in a collaborative way and I like to think we have done that. We have UPMC physicians on staff and they manage our cardiac rehab program. We have Allegheny Health Network (AHN) physicians on our medical staff and we are an active partner with their home care program," he said.

Today, Ohio Valley Hospital offers a variety of adult inpatient and outpatient services including an acute rehabilitation unit, geropsychiatric unit, pulmonary center, sleep evaluation center and an eye and cataract surgery center, among others.

"On the inpatient side, Ohio Valley is an adult and geriatric hospital. We put a lot of focus on services for older patients," said Mr. Scott. "On the outpatient side, we see a range of patients from pediatrics to geriatrics. Overall, we have developed specialties such as adult psychiatry, rehabilitation, wound care, etc., to focus on the needs of seniors since that is a large part of our market," he said.

In recent years, the hospital has branched out into the community with The Wound Care Centers® located at Kenmawr Plaza in Kennedy Township and Mt. Nebo Plaza in the North Hills as well as the Pain Treatment Center at Kenmawr Plaza.

Community support has been key to the success of the Ohio Valley Hospital over the years. When the hospital was developing its senior living communities, it conducted focus groups with local residents to determine how best to market the service.

"We were surprised and pleased to hear their reaction," Mr. Scott said of the focus groups. "Residents felt very strongly about the hospital and felt very loyal to the hospital. There was a real level of comfort that the senior living facility was affiliated with the hospital," he said.

In 2014, the hospital renamed the hospital as part of a new branding campaign and dropped the "General" from its name. "The seniors really felt confidence in the name "Ohio Valley" and we decided to keep that part of the name and just shorten it to Ohio Valley Hospital," he said.

In explaining the success of the hospital, Mr. Scott said, "I think Ohio Valley Hospital has done an excellent job over the years because we are focused on the needs of the people who live around us. I don't know what would happen if you didn't have a facility like Ohio Valley in the community."

To learn more about Ohio Valley Hospital, visit www.ohiovalleyhospital.org.

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