At the Logan County Commission this week, the Rev. Mike Pollard questioned progress for getting a family wellness center built at Man.
Pollard thanked the commission, Rocky Adkins and the Economic Development Authority (EDA) for their roles in getting the old Man Hospital torn down. He said the community fought to keep the hospital up, then after it closed, they had to fight to get it torn down and added he was ready to start the fight to get something built back up.
It has been seven or eight months since the structure was torn down and there has been no activity and he thinks it’s time to get started on building the family wellness center.
Pollard met with CEO Brian Crist, of Southern Health Systems out of Lincoln County a couple of times and there have been other meetings involving the commission, County Administrator Roscoe “Rocky” Adkins and the EDA. Pollard credited the commission for providing the funds to secure the property and lease it out to them.
Southern Health Systems is currently serving the Man area and Pollard says they have been doing a good job.
“I say it’s health care on wheels. They’ve got some trailers pulled in up there and they’ve been doing a good job for the past several years. As a matter of fact, I’ve visited over there and I understand that our clinic in Man has one of the highest, maybe even the highest patient count of any of their clinics they have in southern West Virginia and things are going good. They have also talked about a plan to build us a family wellness center. There have been newspaper articles about it, meetings at the high school, but the question is now that the old hospital has been torn down since late December or early January and so far, we’ve got nothing. It is time for us to see something started and get progress toward building us a family wellness center.”
Pollard recognized that there are several agencies who are involved, including W.Va. Health Care Authority, W.Va. DHHR, the Logan County Commission and said, “Basically, we need more healthcare for the future needs in our community,” said Pollard, “Those folks seem to be willing and ready, but for some reason, they don’t seem to be getting it together.”
After a visit to officials at Charleston, during which he was unable to make contact, Pollard said he just wants to know what is happening. He asked if anyone had talked with Mr. Crist or Southern Health Systems group and what the plan is.
Adkins said he had spoken with Crist within the past 30 days. He said Southern Health Systems had just completed a clinic at Island Creek and Crist is searching for funding to make the same thing happen at Man. According to Adkins, Crist has had meetings with the governor and with the healthcare authority and they all are diligently looking and trying to find the funding.
Adkins said some funding is available, but the project must be fully funded before they can start.
“That is something that is progressing. Obviously, it will never be fast enough for you or I after what we’ve gone through over the past several years, but again, it’s trying to work within the system to try and find out where the funding is.”
Pollard questioned the estimated cost for project and Adkins said originally, they were talking about $3 million complex and now they are trying to figure out what they can build. Adkins mentioned the state has had several budget cuts, which impacts finding the funds for the project.
Adkins says the above mentioned agencies all have to play a part in the project, “They have to take the lead because it’s their facility. They know the property is there for whatever they want to do on it. That’s the plus side they have. They have a piece of property that isn’t going to cost them anything and they won’t have to locate property.”
W.Va. State Senator Art Kirkendoll said, “I have been talking about the situation with the people in Charleston. We do have an advantage with the piece of property, which will knock off 25 percent of your total cost. If you could buy that piece of property, with the acreage and how it is situated, we have a carrot to extend. I think that may be something that may help us get this moving a little quicker.”
Kirkendoll noted more money has been spent in the Man area over the past ten years than anywhere in Logan County. He went on to say they do need more healthcare in that area because he believes the coal industry is going to have a turnaround with the next six months and the area need for healthcare will be growing.
“We have Cliffs up there and we have about 1,600 school kids in transportation areas, ATV trail riders. When you have that many people there is need for more than just an emergency care unit. We’re not going to get a full-fledged hospital there, they’re not going to get a full-fledged hospital in Charleston anymore. But, we need a trauma unit that has emergency care 24 hours a day, that has a place you can go at three o’clock in the morning and see a qualified physician. We need to get a Certificate of Need and we can get that, but now I think that Man would qualify for that. We’ve got the property and we need to pursue it.”
Kirkendoll said they need to pursue getting the clinic and partner with Marshall University to get physican assistants to work at Man together with qualified physicans. He also suggested having a meeting with all the county offiicals and agencies to discuss how to best provide the best level of care in the Man area.
“Somebody has dropped the ball. I shouldn’t have to be here talking to you,” Pollard said then went on to say “I’m going to just throw this out here, supposedly there was $3.3 million earmarked for a facility in the Man area, with one of the state health care agencies, whether it’s DHHR or the W.Va. Health Care Authority, that’s the talk that’s circulating and that’s teh talk I’m hearning. There is $3.3 million dollars that’s been earmarked and the property, thanks to you all, is setting there waiting. Something needs to be happening. We in Tridelphia, we always have to fight to get anything. They’ve got the health care facility, Robert Byrd. The Logan Regional Health Care is busting at the seams. Buck (Harless) is doing things at Gilbert, but Man, we kind of get bypassed. We have to to march or demonstrate or camp out in a tent if that’s necessary to get what we want or get attention. I don’t want to go to that extreme, but I personally have invested 12 years in trying to get something up there. It’s time for something to happen and the people who can make it happen — if the money is there already, the property is there — something needs to be happening. Otherwise, we will have to do it the way we always do it.”