Congressman McKinley visits WVU Potomac Valley Hospital
For the News Tribune
KEYSER - The Potomac Valley Hospital leadership team was honored to welcome Congressman David B. McKinley, PE, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. Congressman McKinley met with the PVH senior leadership team to understand and address the challenges facing the critical access hospital in the face of the current pandemic and the current climate in healthcare.
Against a backdrop of shrinking reimbursements, higher patient expectations, and caring for a community that has been economically challenged by the pandemic, Potomac Valley Hospital has not only risen to meet these challenges, but has also set an example of excellent patient care and high quality standards.
“Potomac Valley Hospital provides essential care to some of our most rural communities. Listening to their challenges and successes gives me the tools to be a more effective voice in Washington,” Rep. McKinley said.
“Supporting Critical Access Hospitals like Potomac Valley is important, given the role they play in ensuring health care access for underserved communities. At the meeting we also discussed my support for the 340B program that supplies lifesaving drugs at a discount to hospitals, as well as expanding telehealth to provide more options for patients,” he said.
Through the course of the pandemic, Congressman McKinley has been actively engaged with hospitals in West Virginia to assure that there was a high level of support from him. That support included many facets from funding to the availability of personal protective equipment.
Potomac Valley CEO Mark Boucot stated, “It was refreshing to have direct conversations and support from the congressman and his staff through this crisis. It’s even more impressive that his concern for us continues as he and his staff have been in constant contact with me and other healthcare leaders to offer assistance and help assure that we were able to meet patient demand.”
Potomac Valley Hospital has been recognized as having a strong approach to disaster planning and has received multiple grants that were supported by Congressman McKinley. Some of those grants have included funding for equipment, ventilators, emergency treatment tents, and other supplies that allow PVH to have a superlative disaster response program.
The hospital safety officer, Brenna Earnest, MSN, presented the hospital’s disaster response to the pandemic along with Nyssa Smith, RN, who is responsible for the hospital’s infection prevention program. The presentation to the congressman included not only how the hospital responded effectively to the local community, but also that its disaster planning efforts allowed PVH to support other hospital facilities with supplies, planning and personal protective equipment.
The congressman’s visit also highlighted how grateful the hospital’s leadership is to him for his support of the 340B Drug Pricing Program. This program provides substantial financial help to patients in rural communities, by managing prescription drug costs. 340B hospitals are able to provide reduced pricing on outpatient medications for patients.
“Congressman McKinley is a strong advocate for the 340B program, which is really important to critical access hospitals such as ours because It helps us to provide needed medications to an otherwise underserved area, at a cost that is affordable,” Boucot said. “Had he not been advocating for the program for the last few years, we might not have it in place today to help so many patients right here, within our own community.”
PVH leadership team also took this opportunity to advocate for better standardization of Medicaid rates for long-term care patients within the state. Critical access hospitals can provide skilled nursing facility level care for patients that may require additional care and extra time to heal before returning home from the hospital. This is a service that is important in rural communities, especially considering COVID-19, where services from nursing homes are becoming harder and harder to obtain.
During the visit, Congressman McKinley commented on the great improvements made at Potomac Valley Hospital and how proud he was that the hospital achieved such great success on its quality scores and having achieved a five-star rating from CMS.
Potomac Valley Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital in Keyser. The hospital serves the community of Mineral County, West Virginia and surrounding areas.
PVH officially became a member of the West Virginia University Health System in 2014. The facility provides inpatient and outpatient care, including 24/7 Emergency Department services.
PVH employs more than 250 healthcare professionals, including over 50 physicians, who are dedicated to our mission of striving to treat every patient like a member of our own family.