WVU Health System Serves State
Nearing the one-year mark of a marriage with West Virginia University Health System, Reynolds Memorial Hospital, staff members are preparing for job creation and more than $20 million in updates within the next few years.
Leaders at the Marshall County facility announced their intentions to become the eighth hospital to join the WVU Medicine family last fall, a partnership that became official in October.
In addition to Ruby Memorial, other West Virginia United Health System member hospitals in the state include United Hospital Center in Bridgeport, Potomac Valley Hospital in Keyser, Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg, Jefferson Medical Center in Ranson and Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg. It also operates Garrett Regional Medical Center in Oakland, Md.
“WVU Medicine is at a very interesting time,” said Albert Wright, CEO of WVU Medicine. “Over the past few years increasingly the board of directors are really moving WVU Medicine towards meeting its mission as the academic medical center to improve the health of the population throughout the state.
“By statute, the president of the university is the chair of the board of directors of the WVU Health System so we are aligned with the university.”
WVU Medicine represents eight hospitals in the state. Through the university, the system has access and works closely with the schools of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, public health and dentistry and the related physician practice plans.
“All of our hospitals are integrating the electronic medical record so a patient’s medical record follows them around the state as they are in the West Virginia University Medical system,” Wright said.
“We are doing a lot of neat things. Increasingly, it is about keeping care in West Virginia.”
That includes recruiting primary care doctors who can serve patients throughout the state and bringing in subspecialists, either in Morgantown or strategically placed around the state, so people will have access to coordinated care and don’t have to go out of state to be treated.
All of that ties back to the university.
“We couldn’t be WVU Medicine without WVU,” Wright said.
“The university helps us to attract physician scientists who are not only interested in clinical care, but also interested in training the next generation of health care professionals who are interested in conducting research and innovation to try to improve care as well.
“Without the university, we could still be a very good health system, but we couldn’t be a great health care system.
“I think the university is a magnet for us to be able to attract great clinicians and staff.”
WVU is loved throughout the state and nationwide, Wright said.
“It allows us to recruit top notch people,” he said. “In the last 18 months, we have recruited 220 new physicians to the university in Morgantown and throughout the state.”
They have brought in a wide variety of specialties with a focus on primary care, emergency medicine, heart and vascular care, cancer specialists, pediatric specialists, critical and trauma care.
WVU Medicine is still recruiting for 175 additional positions.
It is looking to recruit more people specializing in more aspects of medicine and is also looking at people to do research and innovation in treating the drug abuse problem affecting the state and working to prevent relapses.
In addition, services available in Morgantown are becoming available at the WVU Medicine hospitals around the state.
“So when you go into the cancer institute in Parkersburg, you have access to the exact same clinical trials, the exact same subspecialized pathology, radiology, tumor board that our patients here in Morgantown have access to,” Wright said.
David McClure, president and CEO of Camden Clark Medical Center, said joining WVU was a “no-brainer.”
“Our focuses are patient population in the state of West Virginia and our goal has always been to keep our patient population healthy, active and moving in the right direction,” he said.
WVU Health Systems brought Camden Clark and St. Joseph’s together and consolidated the two facilities into one.
At Reynolds Memorial, the relationship has brought new services while enhancing various departments.
As part of the process, WVU has implemented its “signature services” in Glen Dale, the first being a heart and cardiovascular institute, which opened in May.
The second signature service implemented will be an extension of the WVU Cancer Institute. The changes will mean increased job security for 425 employees and the possible addition of about 10 new employees.
A $20 million update to the hospital, known as the surgical pavilion project, has also begun with demolition of the former nursing school building and will continue addition of a new main lobby and hospital entrance.
The hospital earlier this year implemented TeleStroke services, a stroke detection and scanning method using iPad technology and live consultations with WVU technicians.
Shelley Snyder, radiology manager at Reynolds Memorial, said the partnership has already garnered additional community interest in Reynolds.
“Patient-employee morale is better,” Snyder said.
“Everyone is excited about the new changes. Being affiliated with a major facility lets them know they have more options and service availability.”