Trinity to modernize

Private rooms for all patients a priority

WELCOME — This rendering shows how the lobby area will look when the expansion project at Trinity Medical Center West is completed. -- Contributed

STEUBENVILLE — A $75 million expansion and renovation of Trinity Medical Center West will result in a modern hospital with all patients in private rooms and flexibility to accommodate further changes in health care in coming years.

When complete, the new five-story building, styled to include modern architectural references to the original Ohio Valley Hospital, will wrap around the existing Trinity West main entrance and will include a new main lobby, private patient care rooms and additional public spaces that will include food services and an atrium. Construction will begin Monday, with completion expected in 2021.

At that point, Trinity will be a 210-bed, all private-room facility.

The hospital will remain in full operation and available to patients during the construction project. Trinity has put plans in place to have employees, security and volunteers available to assist patients in navigating to their destination. Signs will direct patients and visitors, and the hospital will consider offering a valet parking service, should the need arise.

Matt Grimshaw, Trinity president and chief executive officer, said the project reflects a goal that has existed since Ohio Valley Hospital and St. John Medical Center merged to form Trinity in 1996, with the elimination of duplication of services and the consolidation of the hospitals into one main campus.

“The goal is not about a building but about reinventing how we provide care so that when we open the new space in 2021, we will redesign the way we work, the way we provide care, transitioning not just where we are, but how we work, and how we are here to serve our community,” Grimshaw said. “Our work is our ministry and we look forward to serving you for many years to come.”

The work will be done in three phases:

• Phase I will include access and parking changes to accommodate visitors and patients during construction.

• Phase II will include construction of the new tower. The Teramana Outpatient Center will remain open and be moved temporarily until it is housed in the new addition.

• Phase III will include renovation of existing patient care areas.

The project will add 183,400 square feet to Trinity West.

“With this announcement of our master facility project, we are solidifying Trinity Health System’s position as the health care leader in Jefferson and surrounding counties for delivering top-notch, quality care,” Grimshaw said. “We will not stand still in this ever-changing health care environment; we will continue to forge new paths and create new care delivery systems to meet the needs of our community because we believe the good people of this region deserve the very best.”

Grimshaw, who became Trinity CEO for Catholic Health Initiatives a year ago, said, “We gave our architect two challenges: Bring all of our key hospital services onto this campus, with all private rooms. Without those key goals, we were not going to build here.”

Grimshaw said the design reflects changes in health care and allows for future flexibility.

“Today, many of our patients spend their stay sharing a semi-private room with somebody. The amenities here are not comparable to what is available in larger urban areas around us. We looked at how health care consumers make decisions in a more mobile society than what existed when either campus was built,” Grimshaw said.

He said the challenge for hospitals is not only to provide clinical care comparable to what is received in places like Cleveland or Pittsburgh but to offer service in a place that is comparable, or health care consumers will bypass community hospitals and go to the urban hospitals.

“We have to be comparable to, or better than, what they are going to get in a large metropolitan health care organization while maintaining our culture of caring, compassion and community involvement that makes us different,” Grimshaw explained. “We care for our friends and neighbors and extended family members here. It’s a high-touch experience compared with what I call an anonymous system of delivery in a large urban area.”

“We still need to have that kind of patient experience, but at the same time, as we recruit and retain staff, we need an environment the staff works in that has to be competitive,” he said.

The new Trinity West will be the first CHI hospital to use the new design for the patient care space, reflecting the latest thinking about how a patient care room should work. The rooms will be universal, meaning the level of care can be adjusted, and will be “same-handed,” meaning items will be in the same place in each room.

One major change is that the patient bed is angled 15 degrees to give the patient a view out the window, which will be larger and allow for more natural light in the room. The rooms also feature large private bathrooms which are designed to offer improved access to patients along with additional space for staff and visitors. The ceilings will be higher than in the current rooms and the rooms will be larger than the current semi-private rooms, allowing for more support space per patient room.

“If you think of non-patient room space, this is the support space per patient, and it is double than what exists in our current tower,” Grimshaw said. There will be permanent computer installations in each room for electronic health records, eliminating the need for nurses and staff to drag a computer cart from room to room to update medical charts. Updates will be able to be made while nurses and doctors are interacting with the patient.

The design of the addition allows for flexibility as health care continues to evolve with new technologies. Grimshaw said that means some of the new space in the hospital will be shelled so that it can be built out for future use.

“No one can predict what health care advances will take place in five or 10 years from now, but we are planning for those changes. We have reserved some first-floor space for the future needs — what the community will need. It is a one-time opportunity for us to redefine how care is delivered and to reposition Trinity as the leading health care provider in the region,” Grimshaw said.

It’s the third major project for Trinity’s CEO, Grimshaw having been involved with expansions in Michigan and North Dakota. Trinity’s is the largest of the projects he’s been involved with, he said.

“It’s something I’m very passionate about. There has been a very inclusive process during the past year with our physicians and staff as we talked through how we function today and how we will function in the future,” he said. “A lot of people spent a lot of years’ worth of energy dreaming about this and conceptualizing how we will function if we were all at one campus. Being at the precipice of it is exciting.”

Grimshaw said there were attempts dating back to the 1990s to conceptualize the single-campus hospital.

Keith Murdock, Trinity’s retiring community relations director, noted when the hospitals merged, there were more than 710 inpatient beds. Through reductions in length of stay and other reasons, the need for long inpatient stays has been reduced throughout the health care system. There are more outpatient services performed now than there were inpatient procedures 30 years ago, Murdock said, pointing to the need to continue to be flexible as health care changes.

The average number of patients per day is about 160 between the two current hospitals, peaking in flu season around 180. Thus the 210-bed facility is anticipated to meet the area’s needs, he and Grimshaw said.

The new facility will have an observation care unit near the emergency room. If a patient is kept for 12 hours of observation, it is unlikely they will need to leave the emergency room area and will be discharged to home from there. The design minimizes the need for patient movement throughout the hospital and cuts out the waiting time spent occupying an emergency room bed while awaiting a room to open upstairs.

Trinity will maintain updates about the project’s progress on its website,, including updates about parking information and hospital access as construction progresses.

Trinity Medical Center East, known for most of the 20th century as Ohio Valley Hospital on the bluff overlooking downtown from the southern end of Pleasant Heights, won’t be abandoned, Grimshaw said.

“Trinity East is an important piece of our commitment. When we started this journey a year ago, there was not a good plan for East, but we are pleased to partner with Dynamis Advisors Inc., whose focus is to repurpose health care facilities,” Grimshaw said. The company will work through the rest of the year developing a plan to repurpose Trinity Medical Center East.

“We are excited by their first take on the building and the potential for reuse. We do envision the tower and some of the campus staying long term. We will likely stay a tenant on the campus for outpatient services,” he said. “We are committed to making sure that East does not turn into a negative for the community. It can be a positive for the hilltops for years to come.”

Catholic Health Initiatives is one of the nation’s largest Catholic not-for-profit health care systems.