MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WDTV)-- West Virginia University Healthy System and Highland-Clarksburg Hospital have entered into a management agreement and clinical affiliation agreement, a news release said.
According to a news release from WVU Medicine, the agreement will be effective April 6.
“When we partner with hospitals throughout the state, we do so with the goal of ensuring that the residents in each area maintain access to the care they need,” Albert L. Wright, Jr., president and CEO of the WVU Health System, said. “In a state hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic, our residents need high quality behavioral and mental healthcare now more than ever, and it is our honor to partner with Highland-Clarksburg Hospital to ensure they can continue to provide high quality services to their patients.”
Highland-Clarksburg Hospital has been serving Harrison County and other regions since 2013, according to the news release. With 115 licensed beds, Highland-Clarksburg Hospital is the county's only impatient psychiatric facility serving both children and adults and providing care for those requiring substance abuse and mental health services. The hospital employs 300 people.
Clarksburg residents and the surrounding region will have greater access to WVU Medicine specialists and subspecialists through the new clinical affiliation agreement, according to WVU Medicine. Access to additional resources, including consulting services in a variety of operational areas, will be available through the management agreement.
WVU Health System also agreed to provide the expertise and services of additional management personnel on an "as-needed or as-requested basis."
"This is an exciting opportunity to create a center for behavioral health excellence and to prioritize these important and often-overlooked services in our state,” Jill Rice, Highland-Clarksburg Hospital Board chair, said. “When other providers are pulling out of West Virginia, WVU Medicine is stepping up to serve this vulnerable population.”
According to WVU Medicine, Vickie Jones will continue to serve as CEO of Highland-Clarksburg Hospital. Before she joined Highland-Clarksburg Hospital, she served as commissioner for the Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities within the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
“I look forward to working with the WVU Health System and all those associated to build on our respective strengths and ensure that the residents of Harrison County and the surrounding areas have access to the highest quality, most comprehensive behavioral healthcare services they need when they need them,” Jones said. “And, I look forward to working collaboratively to provide much-needed behavioral health services that will benefit the entire state of West Virginia.”
According to the press release, the agreements will bring together the expertise of HCH and WVU Medicine’s Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, a division of the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute that includes the WVU Medicine Chestnut Ridge Center and the WVU Medicine Center for Hope and Healing.
“Access to life-saving psychiatric care has long been a challenge for people in West Virginia. Far too many have had to suffer with no service or travel great distances to receive quality care,” James Berry, D.O., interim chair of the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, said. “This new relationship with HCH will allow us to pool resources, provide expert collaboration, and coordinate services to enable people to obtain the care they deserve in their own community.”