Let’s Make a Deal
I was shocked to read the article in Wednesday’s News-Register about CAMC (Charleston Area Medical Center) notifying the Health Plan that they will be terminating their contract with them in December of this year. For the record, let me state, I do not have any relationship with the Health Plan, CAMC, or WVU Medicine.
However, I do have a vested interest in all three of those entities coexisting to benefit the residents and taxpayers of West Virginia. The article pointed out that all of the parties are non-profit organizations. However, it seems that money is still the basis for this action. CAMC cites WVU Medicine as their competitor, and I don’t doubt that is true.
Understanding what happened to OVMC/EORH in Wheeling shows how an inadequate cash flow, and a lack of market share, coupled with past failures to upgrade and maintain their facilities can lead to closure and a devastating impact on the local economy, and adequate health care, even when a viable alternative is available (Wheeling Hospital).
I believe the CEO of the Health Plan is not overreacting in his concern, not only for the financial wellbeing of the Health Plan, but for the impact it will have on those currently served by his company. Not having any more information than was provided in the news article, I can only speculate as to the longterm effects that will result if this termination actually occurs. A loss of jobs for a significant number of West Virginia and Ohio residents, a loss of a quality health plan provider for a significant number of satisfied customers, especially in the southern part of the state, a loss of tax revenue to cities, counties, and the state.
Let’s not let history repeat itself. We have a window of opportunity to bring all three of these entities together to find a solution that all of them can live with. And yes, I believe there is such a solution. It may be an agreement between WVU Medicine and CAMC in which a memorandum of understanding is issued that sets forth that WVU (the largest player) agrees to not expand into the market area of CAMC.
The governor of our great state is being given another opportunity to prevent possible long-term catastrophic event to be set in motion. He, the governor, along with the president of West Virginia University, needs to take the initiative by bringing all parties together to find a path that protects all three of the entities, and the taxpayers and insurers of West Virginia.