History of Grant Memorial Hospital

Grant Memorial Hospital opened in April 1958 to provide inpatient and outpatient services to the citizens of the Upper South Branch Valley. The opening culminated more than two (2) years of work by many dedicated officials and citizens of the area.

In late 1955 the Petersburg Kiwanis Club learned that Grant County could qualify for Federal Hill-Burton construction funds to construct a hospital for the area. A survey of the people was held to determine whether or not there was interest in taking advantage of this opportunity. The initial moves were taken through the Grant county Press under the direction of Ralph Welton. The response of the citizens was an overwhelming enthusiasm for the project. The Grant County Commission initiated an investigation on how the project might be financed in addition to the Hill-Burton Funds. The site for the hospital was donated by the Grove heirs on historic Fort Hill overlooking Petersburg with a commanding view in three directions. 

A large committee consisting of Ralph B. Welton, Galen Duling, James Breathed, David E. Cuppett, Jr., V. L. Dyer, M.D., L. T. Veach, M.D., and M. F. Townsend, M.D. was organized and together with the County Commission investigated the financing and other aspects of the project with state agencies in Charleston. David H. Trenton later joined the committee and much credit has been given to Ralph Welton and Dave Cuppett as the primary force behind the planning, development and construction of the Hospital. It was determined that the county would provide 39% of the construction cost with Hill-Burton contributing 61 %. The Grant County Commission authorized the holding of a special levy election to raise the necessary funds for the county’s share. The election was held on March 3, 1956. Although only a 60% majority was necessary, the levy was approved by a margin of 95%.  

The architectural firm of L.D. Schmidt & Son of Fairmont, WV, was employed to prepare the drawings and specifications for the project. Bids for the project were received in July 1956, and it was found that an additional $75,000 was required in order to award the contract. In order to obtain the necessary $75,000 to start construction, a drive for funds by popular subscription was held. Contributions were solicited from Grant and the surrounding counties. The drive was successful and the effort resulted in $81,000 being contributed. This effort by many citizens within the tri-county area saved the project from being lost and resulted in the ultimate construction of the hospital.

 The contract for construction was awarded to Thorington Construction of Richmond, VA. The ground-breaking ceremony was held on October 2,1956, at which time members of the Grant County Commission along with the Board of Trustees and a group of devoted workers formally turned the first spade-full of dirt. Construction was completed in the spring of 1958 and the hospital officially opened in April 1958. The hospital initially consisted of 46 beds with ancillary services of x-ray, laboratory, surgery, obstetrics, and emergency room. The total cost for the Hospital at the time of its opening amounted to $836,298. 

The initial Board of Trustees consisted of James Breathed, Carl Weimer, T.E. Schaeffer, Galen Duling, D.E. Cuppett, Jr., Harman Hartman, David H. Trenton, and Dr. W.C. VanMeter.  The initial medical staff consisted of Drs. L.T. Veach, V.L. Dyer, C.E. King, G.E. Hartle, M.F. Townsend, H.J. Maxwell, C.A. Liebig, and L.M. Hutson as active members. Courtesy staff members included Drs. J.A. Love, R.M. Love, H.W. Rollings, Jr., Samuel Bucher, M.H. Maxwell, Charles J. Sites, Luther Rexrode, Luke Eye and J.D. Mathias. Dr. V.L. Dyer served as the first Chief of Staff.  

As of 2011 the hospital has had four (4) administrators: William J. Anderson (1958-1960), James Breathed (1960-1965), Robert L. Harman (1965-2011), Mary Beth Barr (2011-2018), Robert W. Milvet (2018-present). In 1969 the hospital had experienced several years of high occupancy, and it was felt that consideration needed to be given to expanding the capacity of the facility. The Board of Trustees undertook a study to determine the need for such an expansion. Conferences were again held with officials in Charleston to determine available financing. It was concluded that Hill-Burton funds were again available for a possible expansion program with the County sharing part of the cost. The decision was made to expand the hospital by fifty (50) beds with emphasis being placed on Skilled Nursing Care. The community again approved by a record vote the issuance of eneral obligation bonds to meet the county’s share of the construction cost.  

Construction of the addition to the hospital was begun in 1971 and the new addition was opened for use by patients in September 1972. At this time, the hospital consisted of 96 beds with expanded facilities in emergency care and outpatient treatment. In 1983 a dramatic decrease in the number of patients utilizing the hospital as a result of revised Federal Medicare reimbursement policies saw the hospital decrease it beds in service from 96 to 59. At this same time, there was also a movement to treat more patients on an outpatient basis which resulted in the expansion of most outpatient service areas.  

The hospital operates as a Critical Access Hospital with 25 licensed and staffed beds for acute and swing-bed services and an expanded array of outpatient and outreach services and a broad base of home care services to the citizens of Grant, Hardy, Pendleton, Mineral and Hampshire counties. 

In 1993 the Board of Trustees began a planning process to renovate and expand various sections of the Hospital. The original hospital structure was approaching forty (40) years of age and many areas needed to be expanded and renovated. A special election was held within the county to solicit approval for an excess levy and a general obligation bond issue. The levy and bond issue was approved by a 64% majority and in 1995 construction was started. In 1996 the new emergency department was opened and over the next eighteen (18) months various other areas of the hospital were completed and put into operation culminating in a re-dedication of the facility on December 3, 1998. 

The Board of Trustees, who are appointed by the Grant County Commission, are authorized to operate the hospital and are responsible for appointing the medical staff. They are responsible for maintaining a high level of quality in the services provided by the hospital and medical staff and are the ultimate authority in all areas of governance of the facility. The Board consists of individuals who come from the geographic area served by the hospital. Each member of the Board is appointed for a six (6) year term of office and is limited to no more than two (2) consecutive terms.