PVH's Ralph Gumbert is National Healthcare Hero

Liz Beavers
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Carla Braithwaite, advertising manager with the Mineral Daily News Tribune, presents Ralph Gumbert with the National Healthcare Hero Award for August. The Healthcare Hero program is sponsored by Gannett, the News Tribune's parent company.

KEYSER - Potomac Valley Hospital and the Mineral Daily News Tribune would like to congratulate Ralph Gumbert for being chosen as the National Healthcare Hero for the month of August.

The Healthcare Hero Contest is a national contest started in 2021 by Gannett. Through this contest, community members are invited to pay tribute to a Healthcare Hero within their community. Each month, a local hero will be chosen to be recognized and be entered to win a monthly national prize and recognition.

Ralph was nominated by a coworker for “always giving 100% to help his workers out and he’s the supervisor who will jump in to help you at just a call. He is always support of his staff and brings years of knowledge with him. Ralph is the “go to guy” if you have any questions, not just about the ER, but the hospital in general.”

Ralph has been the Emergency Department manager since 2018. When he first joined Potomac Valley Hospital, his goal was to improve the Emergency Department by focusing on quality care, patient safety, and decreasing wait times. Over the years, he has done just that, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Being prepared for any curveballs that life is going to throw you in healthcare – whether it be new emerging diseases or those kinds of emergencies that happen only maybe once or twice in a lifetime – being prepared for those types of things is important,” Gumbert said. “I think that it’s a big group of people that we talk about when you about the healthcare heroes.”

Ralph has concentrated on streamlining many processes in the ER, leading to greater positive outcomes and patient care. By monitoring patient satisfaction scores and comments closely, he has been able to make changes and help provide staff with direction and information on how best to care for each patient. This detailed information helps encourage teamwork between himself, staff, and providers to make sure every patient receives high-quality care.

“My job is to help develop that team and I think that’s what makes me feel most successful here, “Gumbert said. “We’re all in this together, and my job is no more important than anybody else’s, and their job is just as important as everybody else’s, so I kind of like to stress that.”

To increase the quality of care available in the PVH Emergency Department, Ralph has spearheaded a team working toward obtaining the Acute Stroke Ready Hospital accreditation.  The Acute Stroke Ready accreditation is offered through the Joint Commission in conjunction with the American Heart Association.  As so, there are strict elements each hospital must perform to maintain their accreditation. Obtaining this accreditation would be a great asset to the community, as many times, PVH is the closest facility for patients suffering from stroke symptoms, providing important, potentially life-saving minutes.

“The Emergency Department at Potomac Valley Hospital has had tremendous success in reducing the time a patient spends in our ER,” stated Mark Boucot, president and CEO of Potomac Valley Hospital. He continued, “Ralph has done an amazing job leading the department to reduce the time from door to room in the ED, which is now at an average of less than ten minutes.  Further the average time from a patient is triaged to seeing a healthcare provider is now less than fifteen minutes.  These results lead the state and the nation and have elevated the hospital in its service to the community.  Partly because of Ralph’s work and other leaders at PVH; when the rest of the hospitals in the region went on diversion due to the pandemic, our hospital stayed open and continued to take patients.  I’m so proud of all the staff at PVH and especially Ralph as he receives this recognition.”

Potomac Valley Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital in Keyser, West Virginia. The hospital serves the community of Mineral County and surrounding areas. PVH officially became a member of the West Virginia University Health System in 2014. PVH 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.