Emily Rice Published

Staffing Improves At State Run Hospitals

An empty hospital corridor or hallway. Medical concept. Hospital corridor with rooms. 3d illustration.
The department that oversees West Virginia’s state-run hospitals announced progress in fully staffing the facilities.
sveta/Adobe Stock

Staffing State Hospitals

The vacancy rate at state run hospitals has fallen by 8 percent according to the West Virginia Department of Health Facilities (DHF). The agency announced the hiring of more than 80 new employees at its state-run facilities and forty contracted staff converted to state employees. It is unclear what the staffing vacancy rate is now.

DHF Cabinet Secretary Michael Caruso attributed the progress to new recruitment and retention initiatives launched in January, including new pay rates, flexible work schedules, increased incentives for difficult shifts, targeted funding for hard-to-fill positions, and appointment incentives.

The new system is based on recommendations from a market study conducted by Korn Ferry, an organizational consulting firm. The system also ensures employees retain their existing benefits package, including health insurance, dental, vision and life insurance.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment,” Caruso said. “We are committed to providing excellent care for our patients, while also ensuring our staff are fairly compensated.”

Touring State Hospitals

On Wednesday the DHF said lawmakers toured two more state facilities, including Hopemont Hospital where, in January, a patient was left in scalding water for 47 minutes and later died at an area hospital from his injuries.

Led by Caruso, the group visited John Manchin Sr. Health Care Center in Fairmont in the morning and Hopemont Hospital in the afternoon.

“I am so grateful our dedicated public servants were able to see the passion the hospitals’ staff have in caring for some of our state’s most vulnerable citizens,” Caruso said. “I look forward to future partnerships as we work to overcome challenges and celebrate successes together.”

According to a press release, both facilities hold a four out of a possible five-star designation by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Chair of the Legislative Oversight Commission on Health and Human Resources Accountability (LOCHHRA), Del. Amy Summers, a R-Taylor attended the tour.

“We appreciate the DHF coordinating these site visits to allow legislators the opportunity to view the care residents are receiving, as well as the facilities themselves,” Summers said.

In May, LOCHHRA members visited Jackie Withrow Hospital in Beckley as part of these scheduled tours. Before that, they visited Mildred-Mitchell Bateman Hospital in Huntington and William R. Sharpe, Jr. Hospital in Weston.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Marshall Health.