WHEELING, W.Va. — The first thought from Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott when he heard the news that downtown staple The Health Plan will become a member of WVU Health System is what will it mean for the city.

Elliott told MetroNews his administration met with The Health Plan CEO Jim Pennington last week after the announcement and was reassured this can only help Wheeling.

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Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott

“He assured us that the deal with WVU ensures that jobs are going to be here for a long time and there is still going to be an opportunity for jobs to grow here in Wheeling,” Elliott said.

“From our perspective it’s a win.”

On Tuesday, The Health Plan, a nonprofit managed care organization, and WVU Health System announced in a joint press release that they are coming together to form “a fully integrated healthcare delivery and financing system for the people of West Virginia.”

The Health Plan will now become a member and subsidiary of WVU Health System.

The organization’s headquarters is its Wheeling office with other locations in Charleston, Morgantown, and Massillon, Ohio.

The headquarters in Wheeling opened in February 2018 and employs around 400 people. The state-of-the-art facility sits on 1110 Main Street in the heart of the downtown.

According to Elliott, The Health Plan was the first private sector building built in downtown Wheeling in over 35 years.

“For so many years, we see buildings fall into decay or be torn down with nothing new built,” Elliott said. “There we have this fancy shiny new headquarters right in the smack middle of our downtown Wheeling. That makes a big psychological impact in our city.

“Before The Health Plan came to downtown Wheeling and now, it’s a very different feat in terms of what is possible. They have brought a lot of hope to our downtown footprint.”

Elliott said The Health Plan and Pennington have wanted to be a part in the larger story of the revitalization to downtown Wheeling.

The organization has sponsored many events in order to bring them to that section of the city.

Now with this integrated partnership between The Health Plan and WVU Health Systems, Elliott believes that larger story has more chapters.

“We will continue to work with The Health Plan through this partnership,” he said.

“I think they are going to be just as much of a city partner now as they have been. If anything, this may expand the opportunities for collaboration moving forward.”

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