The PMH Expansion Project Explained

With the Pocahontas County Commissioners considering approval of the of PMH Hospital Expansion Project USDA loan at their special meeting on Tuesday, June 28th, we asked PMH CEO Andrew Bair to tell our listeners about what that expansion entails and how it will improve the hospital’s services to the community.

“What we look to do is expand our rural Health clinic,” said Bair. “The Rural Health Clinic is actually a separate department or clinic within the hospital. A lot of hospitals don’t have doctor’s offices within the hospital, but this does. And, that space back there is very cramped. It is too small for the public to come in, so it will have more rooms, it will have more space for the people who work there, and it will have more waiting space. If you have ever been here to see a doctor or one of our other providers, it’s just very cramped.”

“The other thing is our waiting areas and our registration areas will be improved. So, when we talk about registration, they will be much more private. That is really important. I think it is important that our community know that we take their privacy seriously – and this does that. It is very difficult right now to do that, but it will do that.”

“The other thing it does is it will expand Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. Those will be bigger departments, so they will be able to do some things. There will be an Occupational Therapy kitchen in there, so that if you are having to demonstrate that you can do these things, or practice in a place that is controlled and supervised, we can do that, and make sure you are safe in your home environment. The Cardio-Pulmonary, or Respitory Therapy will be expanded as well. So, where we do our pulmonary function tests and those kinds of things will be bigger. Right now, if you go into that department, it is just a hallway, and the treadmill and those kinds of things just barely fit into there. Additionally, our Xray Department will be expanded, so we will be able to do mammography here. That’s a service that we get very rarely here – I know Betty’s Bus come here, I think once a quarter, we can just do those, and people can get their results much quicker. We will be able to do stress testing, and something called Thallium Stress Testing, where you need a nuclear medicine machine, so, we are expanding services as well. And, those are the main things that are covered with this expansion right now.”

“I know that the bid came in and the cost of supplies and all the construction materials really increased since we started looking at this. So, we fell short of being able to finance the entire project, and so we’ll be looking for a fundraiser for the rest of the project that could not be funded by the USDA loan that we are asking the County Commissioners to sign off on.

How many square feet will the expansion add to the hospital?

“The entire project was going to be 11,000 square feet, but the remodeling was going to be a lot more because of those departments of Physical Therapy and Xray and those things. Those are all rejiggered as well, so we’ll see.”

“What’s not in the project right now – we had asked for an expanded ER, and Intensive Care, and an O.R. And, that’s just a little more expensive than we can handle through the USDA loan. We are looking for other ways of getting there, because we think that is important for our community. K

In our ER, we’ve got no waiting space there. We found ourselves taking care of critical care patients – ICU patients last year during COVID. We don’t have an intensive care, but we were taking care of them anyway, and we need to have the capacity to do that -we recognize that. And, an O.R. would allow us to do some things that people are having to travel pretty far to go get. Just simple things, we are not talking about brain surgery or cardiac surgery, but simple stuff like a colonoscopy or endoscopy. We could do maybe cataract surgery -that’s a simple surgery. We would have to find people to do those things. Eventually, we could probably do some day surgery stuff if we found the right people.

Are we able to do MRIs?

“We do MRIs right now, once a week, and this is big news. We just started last month, and we are already in the black with this. It is already a success here. We think people in the community will appreciate being able to get that. Right now, our neighboring communities are struggling with back-logged MRIs, so you got to wait several weeks. Here, we can get you in pretty quick.”

So, there you have it, PMH will shortly be adding more services with this expansion, and are also considering further expansions of services in future.


Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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