PMH To Partner With Minnie Hamilton For Upper Level Management

Marlinton, WV – Calhoun County’s Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center will be taking over management responsibilities for Pocahontas Memorial Hospital until at least September, according to a statement issued by PMH on Monday. The decision came as a result of a special meeting of the PMH Board of Trustees on June 10 to discuss hospital management and its search for a new CEO.

The Board of Trustees has been investigating options to turn around the finances of the hospital for several months. PMH Board Chairman Dr. Robert Must says the hospital currently has three options:

1.To continue as the hospital is currently operating.
2.To align with a larger hospital.
3.To collaborate with a Federally Qualified Health Center that owns a Critical Access Hospital.

At the Board of Trustees meeting on May 25, the Board voted to apply for a grant with the West Virginia Healthcare Authority to assist with a feasibility study that would determine which option would be in the best interest of the hospital.
Current CEO at PMH, Don Muhlenthaler, is retiring in August and the hospital will be without a CEO prior to the feasibility study being complete. Exactly when Minnie Hamilton will assume management responsibilities is still being negotiated, but PMH trustees anticipate the new management team will be on-site prior to Muhlenthaler’s departure.

The Board has interviewed several candidates for the CEO position. But according to Monday’s announcement from the Hospital, the trustees are uncertain of hiring a new CEO with the feasibility study in progress and the future of the status of PMH hanging in the balance.

Must and Muhlenthaler have been in contact with Barbara Lay, CEO of Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center, and say they are willing to enter into a Management Contract with PMH to act as Interim CEO until the feasibility study is complete and the future of PMH is determined.

Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center is one of two Federally Qualified Health Centers in the United States that operate a Critical Access Hospital and the only one located east of the Mississippi River. The Board of Trustees voted unanimously on June 10th to enter into a Management Contract with Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center. The Board of Trustees also appointed a committee to negotiate and sign the final contract with Minnie Hamilton.

Under this contract, it is intended that Barbara Lay or her Chief Operating Officer, Steve Whited, will be on-site at PMH acting as hospital CEO. Must advised that with this option, PMH is getting a “management team” instead of one CEO.

The PMH Board of Trustees has tabled the CEO search until the feasibility study has been completed and decision is made as to which option is best for PMH. If, at the end of the study, PMH decides to collaborate with a Federally Qualified Health Center, the trustees say a CEO position will not be necessary. However, an on-site Administrator would be engaged to manage the day to day operations of the hospital.

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.

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