Pocahontas Memorial Hospital Will To Study Possible Partnerships To Help Improve Bottom Line

Marlinton, WV – With losses for the year expected to top out over one and a quarter million dollars for the year, the Trustees of Pocahontas Memorial Hospital voted Tuesday to look at the feasibility of partnering with a larger hospital system in hopes of improving its finances.

In a resolution approved by the board at its Tuesday meeting, trustees agreed to study three alternatives, with Davis Health System and Calhoun County’s Minnie Hamilton Health System named as partners in the study. To fund the study, PMH is applying for a $50,000 grant from the West Virginia Health Care Authority, which will be matched by staff time from PMH, Davis and Minnie Hamilton. Board Chairman Dr. Bob Must says the study would be turned around relatively quickly beginning on July 1 and concluding September 30.

After spending some time visiting Minnie Hamilton and meeting with its staff, Dr. Must says he’s optimistic about a partnership with the facility. Minnie Hamilton is a Federally Qualified Health Center. That designation qualifies Minnie Hamilton for substantially more federal assistance than the Critical Access designation of PMH. Dr. Must says PMH has unsuccessfully tried to gain status as a Federally Qualified Health Center.

The study, which will be conducted by the Pocahontas Memorial’s auditors, is expected to show which of the three alternatives would put PMH in the best position for a financial turnaround. Trustee Neil Kellison said taking this step irritated him, but that it was necessary for the hospital.

In other matters, PMH trustees approved consulting staff priveleges for doctors Rebecca Schmidt and Bethany Pellegrino to conduct monthly Kidney Disease clinics at PMH. Pocahontas Memorial CEO Don Muhlenthaler said the dates of the clinics are still to be determined. If successful, Muhlenthaler said the clinics could open up the possibility of offering dialysis services at the hospital.

Muhlenthaler also reported that PMH Home Health was officially sold to Amedisys, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for $400,000. Muhlenthaler said he would present the trustees with his recommendations of how to use the money at next month’s meeting.
Much of next month’s meeting will also be spent reviewing the draft budget for the coming fiscal year prepared by Muhlenthaler and Chief Financial Officer Marvina Irvine.

Muhlenthaler told trustees that renovations have been completed at the Pocahontas Medical Plaza at a cost of about $2,500. The space will provide a new home for the PMH clinic that has been located on Ninth Street in Marlinton. With the lease for that space expiring at the end of June, he said the new clinic location will be open on or before July 1.

After an executive session to discuss the hospital’s search for a new CEO and Physician Recruitment, PMH trustees voted recruit Dr. Jeff McCray to the medical staff.

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