McDowell County advocates raise concern about upcoming hospital transition

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 6:16 PM EST
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WELCH, W.Va. (WVVA) - Before the end of 2023, Welch Community Hospital in McDowell County is set to join the WVU Medicine umbrella. Gov. Jim Justice (R-W.Va.) made the announcement in early January.

Following that news however, local advocates have spoken out about their concerns regarding the hospital’s transition. WVU Medicine has since revealed it is beginning to look for other long-term care providers to transfer Welch Community Hospital’s 59-bed long-term care unit to.

The hospital’s CEO, Mark Simpson, said previous transitions in the region can serve as proof of WVU Medicine’s ability to improve care -- but local non-profit Council of the Southern Mountains’ leader said he still sees cause for concern.

“It’s operated by administrators and their main goal is the bottom line,” said Executive Director Randal Johnson. “We just want reassurance that people will be able to be served.”

“If you look at all the other acquisitions that WVU medicine has been involved in, you see growth, you see expansion, you see so many great things happening,” said CEO Mark Simpson.

Simpson said there are still some loose ends to tie up before the transition completes, but added the hospital anticipates the transition to happen on-schedule.