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Historical Moment in Barnesville Hospital History

For over 70 years, Barnesville Hospital has served the community by providing quality compassionate care to those in need day in and day out 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Barnesville Hospital began offering emergency services with the addition of the central portion of the hospital in 1954. At that time, the annual number of emergency room visits was 233 and grew to a volume of 400 visits in 1963. Through the years, there have been discussions about the need to expand the emergency department facilities. That need has continued to evolve with the changing face of health care and was never more apparent than in 2013 when the volume of emergency room visits grew to 7,680.

In 2007, the Barnesville Hospital Foundation initiated a campaign planning study to investigate the potential of a major fundraising campaign to support a $7.5 million, 3 story, and 24,000 square foot expansion plan. While the community expressed their enthusiastic support of these plans, sufficient resources were not available to move forward. The ensuing economic recession a year later support that decision. Just as the slogan of the Village of Barnesville, Where History Meets Progress, implies, the time has come for major advances at Barnesville Hospital. Life is full of changes and uncertainty, and neither the Village of Barnesville nor Barnesville Hospital can remain the same. Both must stay dynamic and responsive or be left behind.

Hospital Administration and Board Leadership have made the decision Now is the Time to significantly redesign, expand, and enhance this most essential department of the hospital for the community. The existing Emergency Department has grown over-crowded and the design and access make it inefficient and inconvenient or patients and staff alike. The expansion and renovation project will remedy those problems and provide 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.

The new Emergency Department will address many of the current shortcomings by offering:

  • 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.

Now is the Time represents the theme of the Barnesville Hospital Foundation’s Capital Campaign. Just as the women who made up the hospital branch and twigs were instrumental in laying the groundwork for the 1954 expansion, a lead donation of $250,000 by the Barnesville Hospital Auxiliary, followed by an employee contribution of $264,000, have brought Barnesville Hospital to an historical moment once again when, on Wednesday, May 14th, the first shovels of dirt were turned for the new, efficient 7,000 square foot emergency department.

Much like threads weave together in fabric, the Hospital and the Village are interwoven to meet the needs of the community. Late last year the Village of Barnesville approved a low interest loan to the Hospital to assist with the construction and renovation of the Emergency Department. According to David Phillips, Barnesville Hospital CEO, “The approval of the low-interest loan by Barnesville Village Council served as the catalyst for Barnesville Hospital to reach this historical milestone in its history, breaking ground for the expansion and renovation of the Hospital’s Emergency Department. We are very fortunate to have one of the most supportive communities of any small hospital. The people here really care about Barnesville. They recognize the quality care provided here by many of their friends, family and neighbors.”

As the project moves forward, the Barnesville Hospital Foundation will look to the Barnesville community, as well as neighboring communities, for additional financial support. Barnesville Hospital serves as a significant contributor to the region’s economic health. With a work force of 280 staff members from six counties, it is the largest private employer in the area and, indirectly, supports additional jobs in the area. The hospital generates $25 million in economic activity within the region each year and provides nearly $2 million annually in uncompensated health services. While the Hospital is thankful for the Auxiliary and Employee contributions, the low-interest loan from the Village of Barnesville is just as the word implies, a loan, and must be repaid. The investment of this $3.5 million project must be supported through generous community gift support.

Rapid access to high-quality emergency health and medical services is a fundamental need for any community. In a medical emergency, access to care in a timely manner is critical; during emergencies, we feel more vulnerable and most in need of comfort of life-saving care. In 2004, Barnesville Hospital earned the designation of a “critical access hospital.” By definition, it must provide vital life-saving stabilization of patients in a rural area. No one knows when the next emergency might be ourself or that of a loved one.

“The expanded Emergency Department will greatly enhance our ability to meet the needs of our patients and their families,” states Cynthia Touvelle, BSN, Chief Nursing Officer, “The design will add private treatment rooms for confidentiality and additional support space for staff, equipment and technology. A private waiting area will provide comfort to family members. A redesigned patient flow will allow for an Urgent Care track which is a lower cost alternative to patients unable to access their primary care physician for minor illnesses. State-of-the-art monitoring and medical technology, along with highly qualified staff, will allow us to provide the emergency care the community deserves.”

Michael Carpenter, Facilities Director & Project Manager, explains the ED expansion project will be completed in two phases, with the final completion date anticipated in 2015. According to Carpenter, “The first phase will be new construction, which is tentatively scheduled for completion in late 2014. After completion of phase one the emergency department will be relocated into the newly constructed area to allow for phase two of the project. Phase two will include complete renovation of existing space. Once phase two is complete the entire area of new construction and remodeled space will be utilized for emergency services. The 6,500 square foot project is slated for completion in the summer of 2015.”

Barnesville Hospital is the only 24-hour critical access hospital serving Monroe county, western Belmont county, and parts of Noble, Harrison, and Guernsey counties. For more information on Barnesville Hospital and the services provided, visit the hospital’s website at or call Peggy Douglass, M.S., R.N.C., Director of Education & Outreach at (740) 425-5158.