FAIRMONT, W.Va. – President and CEO of Mon Health Systems, David Goldberg has released a statement in response to the recent closure of Fairmont Regional Medical Center.
Below is his full statement:
The COVID-19 healthcare crisis demonstrates clearly and forcefully the need for strong, local and diversified hospital services in communities like Fairmont.
The current owner of Fairmont Regional Medical Center, Alecto Healthcare Services, is being allowed to abandon its responsibility in the midst of the crisis. WVU Medicine (WVU Hospitals), the Governor’s choice to fill the void, says it will close the hospital just as the COVID-19 crisis is ramping up. At the same time, the CEO at Wheeling Hospital, which is managed by WVU Hospitals, is raising the possibility that the former Alecto Healthcare East Ohio Hospital might need to be used for COVID-19 surge capacity.
The Governor has suggested that West Virginia’s Certificate of Need laws might be set aside so that WVU Medicine can move more quickly to replace hospital services. The Governor has said the plan is for a 100-bed hospital in Fairmont. WVU Medicine’s first letter of intent filed with the state on March 20, 2020, calls for only a 10-bed hospital and minimal Emergency Department services at the current Fairmont hospital site. The concurrent plan, stated in a second letter of intent also filed March 20, 2020, is to build a new 25-bed hospital within 32 months of approval of its certificate of need. There is no definitive plan for a 100-bed hospital in Fairmont.
Mon Health System was the first to file a Certificate of Need application for a new hospital in the Fairmont region recognizing a need for continued quality health care in Marion County. There has been no indication from the Governor that the possible set-aside of the Certificate of Need law will be applied in a fair and equal manner for any other independent entity, including Mon Health, to more quickly proceed with its project.
Mon Health already has the property, the plans, the design, and is ready to move forward toward construction of its new hospital in Fairmont. As noted in the Dominion Post on March 20, 2020, Mon Health already has a presence in the Fairmont region with doctors and facilities. Expanding services with a new hospital in the region is most appropriate for the patients and residents of the Fairmont area.
Politicization of healthcare is not safe and not smart, especially at a time with national, regional and local impacts from COVID-19. What is happening across West Virginia is a perceived focused toward a single source of healthcare by one non-profit dominant healthcare system. National evidence shows that this leads to increased costs, diminished efficiency of convenient access, and ultimately a market monopoly. Most of all, the choice patients have and the right of citizens to choose where they want to get healthcare is taken away from them.
Mon Health System has filed a worthy and appropriate Certificate of Need application to build a new hospital to serve Fairmont and the surrounding region and deserves fair and balanced review and consideration so that Mon Health System is not excluded from the Fairmont market.
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