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Cabell Huntington Hospital (Marshall Health Network)


Cabell Huntington Hospital, now part of the Marshall Health Network and one of the 10 largest general hospitals in West Virginia, is named after the county and city that financed its initial construction with taxpayers’ money.

Community leaders in Huntington and Cabell County decided in 1945 that there was a critical need for a new acute care hospital and convinced the state legislature to approve a bill to authorize a city county hospital. Voters in both the city and the county approved a $3 million bond issue in 1952, and construction soon began on the site of a former brickyard. The facility first opened for business in 1956. Community response was so great that a three-phase expansion program was begun soon afterward. Cabell Huntington was originally a 236-bed hospital, but the first phase of the expansion increased the size to 280 beds and 48 bassinets in 1963, followed by a second expansion in 1976 that added more beds as well as expanded emergency room space, laboratory facilities, the cafeteria and business offices. A third phase of expansion was initiated after approval of a $9 million bond issue that included a 26-bed critical care floor that opened in August of 1981. The region’s only birthing room and a high-risk labor room were part of the expansion in 1981 and 1982. The hospital has the only burn unit in the state, treating electrical and chemical burns as well as those caused by fire.

In 1989, construction began on a $12 million surgery suite addition, and in 1998 the new partnership with the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine produced the most significant expansion of the physical plant. This new MU Medical Center, connected to the existing hospital, brought all of the School of Medicine physicians, faculty, and students together in one location.

The Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center opened in 2006,specializing in cancer care for both children adults. The Hoops Family Children’s Hospital opened in 2012. This 72-bed “hospital within a hospital” is located on Cabell Huntington’s fifth floor. In 2017, Cabell Huntington introduced its Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery.

The hospital is governed by a board of directors, representing a wide range of community interests, including labor and business. The board appoints the medical and dental staff, composed of approximately 325 physicians and dentists in the community. In 1985, the hospital began converting from a public nonprofit corporation to a private nonprofit corporation. In early 1988, this conversion was completed and Cabell Huntington Hospital, Inc., became the new corporation governing and overseeing Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Plans to merge operations with St. Mary’s Hospital of Huntington and Pleasant Valley Hospital in Point Pleasant were completed in 1998 when the West Virginia Health Care Authority approved a certificate of need for the creation of the new Genesis Health Care Services, Inc. The short-lived combination lasted until late 2001, when Genesis was dissolved, leaving Cabell Huntington to operate its network independently.

In 2007, the hospital opened the eight-story North Patient Tower in Huntington and expanded its capacity once again. The original Cabell Huntington Hospital now has 313 beds.

In 2014, Cabell Huntington announced plans to acquire St. Mary’s Medical Center. The Federal Trade Commission filed an administrative complaint against the merger in November 2015, citing concerns over health care costs and quality. In 2016, the Health Care Authority granted the hospital a certificate of need for the purchase. In January 2018 all parties reached a compromise and objections to the merger were withdrawn. In March, the Vatican approved the transfer of sponsorship to Cabell Huntington. St. Mary’s retained its name and Catholic affiliation, and the two hospitals, along with Hoops Family Children’s Hospital, HIMG, and Pleasant Valley Hospital (now Rivers Health) of Point Pleasant, were unified under a single healthcare system named Mountain Health Network, in February 2019. By 2022, Mountain Health had become West Virginia’s fourth largest private employer, with some 700 beds.

In April 2023, Mountain Health announced plans to integrate the academic health system of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University into its network. This encompasses all of Marshall Health’s physician practices and its facilities, including the three-story, 70,000 square-foot Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center in Huntington. The center originally opened in January 2006 under the direction of Marshall University. On October 5, 2023, Marshall University, Marshall Health, and Mountain Health Network announced a merger, including the Edwards School of Medicine, to form Marshall Health Network, Inc., making it one of the largest health care providers in West Virginia, behind WVU Medicine and Vandalia Health.

Written by Tom D. Miller


  1. Casto, James E. Huntington: An Illustrated History. Huntington: Chapman Printing, 1997.

  2. Marshall Health, Marshall University, and Mountain Health Network boards approve first step toward clinical integration. Mountain Health Network Website, April 26, 2023.

  3. Cosco, Kathy M. Cabell Huntington Hospital: Historical Progress. , Report. 1997.

  4. Kennedy, Nicole. Hospitals get OK to Affiliate. Huntington Herald-Dispatch, June 25, 1998.

  5. Stowers, Shannon. Mountain Health, Marshall Health Announced Merger. WCHS-TV, October 5, 2023.