Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

March 1, 2014

‘Closer collaboration:’ PCH, CAMC benefit from agreement

— — A new clinical affiliation agreement between Charleston Area Medical Center and Princeton Community Hospital should help to strengthen both medical facilities during this time of rapid change in the nation’s health care industry.

The agreement was announced last week. It seeks to strengthen both organizations and to enhance the quality of health care in southern West Virginia while both hospitals navigate through the new health care law changes.

The announcement follows a comprehensive three-year strategic planning process by the PCH Board of Directors. Initially, PCH and CAMC will form clinical affiliation teams for cardiac care, oncology and quality. Those teams will meet to identify improvements in care, collaboration and quality for the programs. Developing rural residency rotations at PCH is also a future goal of the new collaborative agreement.

“This is a wonderful opportunity that will provide additional resources to our medical staff and employees as we navigate through the new health care changes.” Fred St. John, president of the PCH Board of Directors said Wednesday in announcing the new agreement.

“We want this affiliation to send a positive message to the community,” PCH Chief Executive Officer Wayne Griffith added. “It is our desire to work together to provide quality care for the patients in our communities. PCH will remain a community-owned, not-for-profit hospital.”

CAMC Chief Executive Officer David Ramsey says the collaboration will help make the future of both medical facilities stronger. He says the new agreement will result in an increased collaborative effort to improve care and costs — both of which are of equal importance to those citizens who utilize the two hospitals.

Anytime you have increased access to and collaboration with a larger neighboring medical center both the hospital and the community it serves benefits. In this case, that would be Princeton Community Hospital and southern West Virginia. But when looking at the bigger picture, the new agreement between PCH and CAMC should be a win-win for both medical centers.

There are already many instances where patients from our region are transferred to CAMC for advanced medical care or procedures that can’t currently be completed in the region. And the same goes for trauma patients who are often air-lifted to CAMC following a serious illness or motor-vehicle accident.

That’s why we are glad to see that the two medical centers are working to strengthen their existing ties. It is our hope that the new clinical affiliation agreement will be a positive for both hospitals and the communities they serve.

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