MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Summersville Regional Medical Center (SRMC) kicked off a fundraising campaign today (Oct. 10) in order to establish long-term financial stability.

Like many rural healthcare providers, SRMC has faced numerous challenges over the years, including physician and nurse shortages, government regulatory burdens, and a lack of financial resources to make the necessary investments for the hospital to thrive. As a result, the hospital currently has a significant amount of debt and is struggling to generate sufficient income to pay its outstanding debts.

Steps have already been undertaken to reverse this trend. In June, SRMC announced that it had entered into a management agreement with WVU Hospitals as a potential first step toward a future affiliation with WVU Medicine.

In addition, SRMC has submitted an application to be designated as a critical access hospital by the federal and state governments. This designation should provide the hospital with increased revenue to cover the costs of operating the hospital. While the designation does not change the hospital’s mission to the community or its patients, it does change the reimbursement methodology for the hospital, which should allow it to remain financially viable and continue to serve its patients.

SRMC is negotiating a long-term lease agreement with the West Virginia University Health System for the operation of the hospital after it obtains the critical access designation. Until a long-term relationship is secured, SRMC needs immediate funds to ensure its continued operation. To that end, the WVU Health System has pledged $1 million to assist SRMC.

“We entered into the management agreement with Summersville Regional Medical Center because we wanted to ensure that it would remain a vital community resource for years to come. The same is true of our decision to support the fundraising campaign,” Albert L. Wright, Jr., president and CEO of the WVU Health System, said. “Since we entered into the agreement, we have provided clinical, operational, and financial leadership to help keep the hospital up and running, and we will continue to do all that we can to make sure the area’s residents have access to the healthcare they need.”

The Bright Family has agreed to match up to $1 million in community gifts that are designated to support the ongoing financial viability of Summersville Regional Medical Center.

Summersville City Council was among the first to respond to the Bright Family’s pledge and donated $250,000 for SRMC.

“The pledge from the WVU Health System was a remarkable first step and commitment on behalf of our management partner, and the Bright Family has been extremely generous with their offer to match gifts from the community up to $1 million. That is why it was imperative for the City Council to get on board and contribute to this very important campaign,” Summersville Mayor Robert Shafer said. “Our community has always been a giving community. Incredibly, when we have a need, our community responds. I know our residents will help us achieve this goal.”

Those who are able to support the fundraising campaign are asked to do so in writing by Dec. 31. Gifts will be made payable to the WVU Foundation, the non-profit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University, for the benefit of SRMC and held in a separate account for that purpose.

Anyone interested in supporting the fundraising campaign can contact the WVU Foundation toll free at 877-791-4344 or online at http://give.wvu.edu

SRMC has been serving Nicholas County and southern West Virginia since the late 1960s. Its 105 beds include the county’s only nursing home beds. The hospital employs 500 staff.