The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) announced, effective today, Welch Community Hospital will begin contracting with a physician group from Beckley, West Virginia, to provide non-emergent Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) services. The OB/GYN physician, who had been providing OB services at Welch Community Hospital for many years, retired on May 31, 2017.
Starting today, OB/GYN physicians from Appalachian Mountains Medical will provide services three days per week at Welch Community Hospital. Since these physicians will be travelling from Beckley and will not reside in the area, the Hospital will not be able to offer emergent services, including deliveries; however; delivery services will be provided in Beckley by the physicians from Appalachian Mountains Medical.
“There is a shortage of physicians and medical professionals nationally and in West Virginia, particularly in the southern part of our state,” said Nancy Sullivan, acting commissioner for DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities. “The budgetary issues that the state continues to face do not help us in our recruitment and retention efforts and the contract we’ve entered will actually cost the state more than if we were able to hire a permanent physician. We do, however, think it is important that OB services continue to be available in Welch for the residents of McDowell County and the surrounding area. Because the cost is greater, we are examining ways to reduce our purchasing and contract expenditures in other areas.”
Welch Community Hospital is a state-owned, acute care hospital in McDowell County providing a wide scope of care and services.