MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Karen Bowling, vice president of care delivery and transformation for the West Virginia University Health System and president and CEO of WVU Medicine’s Braxton County Memorial Hospital and Summersville Regional Medical Center, has been elected to a three-year term on the 340B Health Board of Directors.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., 340B Health is a membership organization of more than 1,400 public and private nonprofit hospitals and health systems in the federal 340B drug pricing program. The organization formed in 1993 to increase the affordability and accessibility of pharmaceutical and clinical care for the nation’s poor and underserved populations. 340B Health monitors, educates, and serves as an advocate on federal legislative and regulatory issues related to drug pricing and other pharmacy matters affecting safety-net providers. Its membership consists of a broad spectrum of hospitals, including academic medical centers, community hospitals, children’s hospitals, and rural facilities.
In announcing the election of Bowling and three other new members to the Board, Maureen Testoni, president and CEO of 340B Health, said, “We are pleased to have such knowledgeable, experienced, and capable additions to our Board, who will provide key guidance on the future of this organization. The importance of safety-net hospitals has come into sharper focus during the current public health emergency, and the input of these Board members will be invaluable as we work to advocate for and provide resources to those hospitals and their patients.”
Prior to joining WVU Medicine in 2017, Bowling served as cabinet secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and shepherded an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program under then-Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Before that, she held a variety of direct care and leadership positions in healthcare and education.
Her career started as an emergency room nurse in a small rural hospital in Wyoming County and then led her to the Wyoming County Board of Education to develop its School Health Program. In 1990, she became the CEO of Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley.
Bowling has served in various leadership roles, including as chair, of the West Virginia Hospital Association. She was also a board member of several organizations, including the Raleigh County Community Action Association, the YMCA of Beckley, and the Beckley Health Right Clinic and served as chair of the Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce.
Bowling holds an associate’s degree in nursing from Bluefield State College and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from WVU. She also completed a master’s degree in higher education from Capella University.
“We are very proud of Karen’s election to the 340B Health Board of Directors, as this organization is of vital importance to us as a safety-net provider for uninsured, Medicare, and other vulnerable patients in West Virginia, for whom we care regardless of their ability to pay,” Albert L. Wright, Jr., president and CEO of the WVU Health System, said. “As a System, we are strong advocates for 340B, and Karen’s position on the Board will ensure that the best interests of patients, hospitals, and health systems in rural states like ours are well represented.”