Associated Press Published

Report Says Combining Health Departments Could Save State Millions

Cabell Huntington Health Department

A report says West Virginia could save $12.5 million or more by consolidating dozens of county health departments into nine multicounty districts.

The report was released Tuesday by West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research during a news conference with the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

In the report, Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department Executive Director Drema Mace estimated almost $12.5 million in savings by consolidating redundant positions.

The report says local health departments may also have millions of dollars of untapped revenue potential.

It suggests billing third-party payers directly, including Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance companies. Consolidation would give departments the resources to move billing processes in-house and collect on services they already provide.

The report says combining would also let departments offer more fee-generating services.