WV DHHR officials address rumors about John Manchin Sr. Health Center outpatient clinic closure

Health

WBOY 12 News has received several tips that employees of the John Manchin Sr. Health Care Center outpatient clinic in Fairmont were told this week that the clinic would be closing on July 1, 2019.  Union officials have posted a similar message on Facebook.

Despite the tips and the union Facebook post, “No final decision has been made at this time and all options are still under evaluation.  This review of services is simply an attempt to assure that tax dollars appropriated by the legislature are spent wisely,” DHHR officials said Friday.

The center offers “skilled/intermediate nursing, inpatient and outpatient clinical services at the most affordable cost and in the most efficient and accessible manner, targeting indigent residents who are unable to obtain these services in the community,” according to its website.

Officials at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources released a statement on the issue:

The clinic portion of John Manchin Sr. Health Care Center has experienced a loss of more than $250,000 per year over the past two years.  The clinic offers similar services as those offered at the Marion County Health Department and other providers in the area.  Since this appears to be a duplication of services currently provided in the private sector, DHHR is evaluating various options.  Ultimately, we want to make sure that state dollars are spent appropriately, but also that adequate services are available in the community before any decision is made.

If a closure becomes a reality, when asked if clinic patients would be referred to the entities that offer the duplicated services, DHHR officials said, “There are clearly alternatives in the community for clinic services, and we would anticipate discussions with those providers prior to making a decision on the continuation or the termination of the clinic services.”

The potential closure comes on the heels of a grievance filed by the outpatient clinic’s medical director, Dr. James Namsupak, and other employees, alleging that the center’s CEO, Michele Crandall, created a hostile work environment for employees.  An administrative law judge ruled in favor of Dr. Namsupak and the employees.  You can read the full decision here.

The services provided by the long-term inpatient care portion of the center are not impacted by the review of the outpatient clinic, DHHR officials said.

The health care center began as a Miners Hospital in 1899, with the current building opening on the same site in 1980, according to the DHHR website.

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