PMH Expanding Services And Staff

Marlinton, WV – What a difference 18 months has made for Pocahontas Memorial Hospital. A year-and-a-half ago, many were worried that the county might lose its only hospital, due to a bleak financial situation.

But new management turned things around and, rather than shutting its doors, the hospital is now expanding its services and staff. PMH board chairman Dr. Robert Must attributes much of the hospital’s success to new chief executive officer Barbara Lay.

Minnie Hamilton came – we recruited Minnie Hamilton to have a management contract with us, a year-and-a-half ago, almost two years ago,” he said. “When that contract ended, we recruited Barbara Lay, who had been the CEO at Minnie Hamilton to come be our CEO. And, since she’s been here, it’s been fabulous. People who come here have noticed an increase in professionalism, increase in quality care, increase in morale of hospital employees. It’s been, all in all, very positive.”

During the monthly board meeting on April 26, financial officer Chad Carpenter reported a profit of more than $90,000 for the month and approaching a quarter million dollars for the year.

Must says Carpenter’s financial report was a first.

“This last board meeting, we had for the first time, since I’ve been associated with this hospital, we are in the black for our clinic. We’re in the black for our ambulance service. We’re in the black for the month we just finished and we’re in the black for year-to-date, starting last July 1. So, it’s been very exciting.”

PMH medical operations officer Dr. Frank Puckett informed the board that two new doctors are joining the staff. Dr. Neal Rehburg, of Lewisburg, will work full-time at PMH and Dr. Luke McElwain, of Webster County, will work part-time at PMH. Puckett said a new pharmacist was coming on board too, and that he was interviewing more doctors to join the staff.

Puckett requested board approval to purchase endoscopy equipment and add the line of service at the hospital. Endoscopy is a procedure during which a doctor looks inside the body, using a tiny camera, and includes Colonoscopy.

Puckett said the endoscopy equipment at PMH had not been used since 2009. He requested a $63,000 expenditure to purchase new equipment and offer the service at PMH. The doctor said three procedures a week would pay for the equipment and more procedures would represent profit. Puckett said he could offer endoscopy services within 60 days of board approval.

The board voted 4-0 to authorize the expenditure and allow the line of service. Board member / county commissioner David Fleming was not present. Must explains the importance of the new line of service.

“Endoscopy is not one of the usual screening procedures, but we assume we’ll be doing colonoscopy also,” he said. “Colonoscopy is something that’s recommended for all individuals, as a routine screening, after the age of 50. So, we’re getting onboard with offering most of the recommended screenings, right here at home in Pocahontas County.”

The chairman says Puckett, who joined the staff last fall, is making a big impact.

“Dr. Puckett has really helped us a lot with improving the quality of care in the emergency room and improving the quality of care on the inpatient side, and taking care of a lot of things right here, that we should have been taking care of all along.” he said

In other business, the PMH board:

– authorized CEO Barbara Lay to pursue financing for critical needs, which include a three-phase generator for the CT scanner and X-ray machines.

– and approved a dental/vision plan for employees, at a maximum cost to the hospital of $33,600 per year.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

Current Weather