SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – In the six months since Thomas Health announced its management and clinical affiliation agreement with the WVU Health System, patients and employees of Thomas Health have begun reaping the benefits of the partnership.
One of the biggest benefits patients have seen is increased access to care from the addition of physicians who will provide new services to the elimination of the cost to park on Thomas’ hospital campuses.
“Barriers to care are a major challenge in West Virginia. Having to pay to park on a hospital campus may seem like a small thing to some people, but it could mean the difference of deciding whether to seek out needed care for others,” Albert L. Wright, Jr., interim president and CEO of Thomas Health and president and CEO of the WVU Health System, said. “Then, once we have people in our buildings, we need to ensure we are providing them with the services that they need. We don’t ever want our patients to have to travel great distances to find high quality healthcare.”
To that end, Julie Haddy, M.D., nephrologist, started at Thomas Health earlier this month, and Albeir Mousa, M.D., vascular surgeon, will start in November and will bring back services that had not been available to Thomas’ patients for many years.
A new helipad is also under construction at Thomas Memorial Hospital to allow for improved access to the facility for the emergent transport of critically ill patients. It is expected to be completed next month.
Thomas Health also received three federal grants with the assistance of Senators Shelly Moore Capito and Joe Manchin totaling nearly $7.2 million – for new imaging equipment at Thomas Memorial and Saint Francis Hospital, to modernize the Cancer Infusion Center at Thomas Memorial, and to expand services at Saint Francis Hospital.
This week, Turquoise Health released a price transparency report rating hospitals and health systems on how well they follow federal requirements to publish their negotiated rates with private insurers. Of the nearly 5,000 hospitals analyzed by Turquoise Health, only 104 of them, including Thomas Health, received the highest score.
While hospitals and healthcare systems across country continue to battle the national nursing shortage, Thomas recently increased the pay rate for all hospital nursing staff to attract and retain the best and brightest to care for patients.
“You can have the shiniest, most state-of-the-art hospital on the planet, but if you don’t have the staff to care for your patients, it’s just a pretty building,” Wright said. “Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare team, and they are at the heart of everything we do. We hope that this hourly increase will let our current nurses know they are appreciated and will help us to add new nurses to the family.”
For more information on Thomas Health, visit ThomasHealth.org.