Pocahontas County gets first ever trauma center at PMH

Buckeye, W.Va. – For the first time in its history, Pocahontas County has an approved medical trauma center. During Thursday’s board of directors meeting, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Frank Puckett makes the announcement.

“From an emergency room standpoint, the most exciting thing is – we had our survey today and approved as a Level Four trauma center, as of today,” he said. (Applause) “We’ve all been working very hard for this.”

PMH is an approved Level Four trauma center effective Thursday. The hospital achieved stringent standards in six key areas to obtain the certification. Puckett commended chief nursing officer Kerry Ridgeway and the medical staff for their hard work.

Hospital CEO Barbara Lay reads a portion of the trauma certification team’s report.

“As a start-up, PMH is farther ahead than many than they have seen over the years,” she said. “Wherever they walked in the facility, they saw people dedicated to making this work. And I just think these are such positive things.”

PMH financial officer Chad Carpenter reported a budget deficit of more than $177,000 for the month of October. Carpenter says the loss is due primarily to unusually high insurance deductions.

“These are numbers that Medicare and Medicaid and the other insurance companies say, ‘okay, you billed us $500 for this claim, we only allow $300 of that. You have to adjust $200 off, because of your contract,'” he said. “So, we’re actually doing some research to figure out why they were higher this time and actually pulled in a couple extra people to help us do that.”

Lay notes the deductions are out of line with hospital receipts.

“You know, the bigger your cash receipts are, the higher your deductions could be,” she said. “But our cash receipts weren’t really that high, compared to what our deductions were and that’s what created a red flag for us. Because, when you look at our revenue, I mean, that’s the second-highest revenue we’ve made this year from patient services. But our deductions were so high. So, that’s one reason that we’re doing some tests and audits to figure out what do we need to do to fix that.”

Board chairman Dr. Robert Must says the signs for financial rebound are good.

“The financial statement wasn’t great this month,” he said. “But there were some items in there to give us good hope: increased utilization; increased patient charges; increased utilization of the clinic, and we also have this trauma four certification, which is a wonderful thing. We also have movement forward with electronic records. We also have a team of individuals that has gathered here over the last year that is working very hard to improve patient care, quality and outcomes.”

In other business, the hospital board approved contracting a recruiting firm to locate a nurse practitioner for PMH.

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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