The two largest healthcare organizations in Monongalia County – both associated with West Virginia University – will be managed as one under an agreement reached last week.

WVU Healthcare will include West Virginia University Hospitals and University Health Associates. The boards of directors of both organizations have agreed to combine management functions to create more effective systems for providing healthcare to patients and return more resources to support the WVU School of Medicine.

WVU Healthcare operations in the Morgantown area will include Ruby Memorial Hospital, the Physician Office Center, the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, WVU Heart Institute, Chestnut Ridge Center, WVU Eye Institute, WVU Urgent Care and WVU Cheat Lake Physicians.

The organization will be led by a three-person Executive Leadership Group, reporting to the chancellor, that includes the dean of the School of Medicine, the chief executive officer of West Virginia University Hospitals, and a newly created position of chief medical officer of WVU Healthcare.

“Having a unified management team is crucial to being a more nimble and responsive organization,” Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., chancellor for health sciences, said. “We are in a period of fundamental change in how our country organizes healthcare and how we pay for healthcare. It’s crucial for academic institutions to adapt quickly to change, to protect the interests of our patients, students, faculty and staff as we move forward. This organizational change will help us be ready to do that.”

Although administrative organizations are generally invisible to patients, they are vital to making sure services are available and accessible when patients need them, Bruce McClymonds, WVU Hospitals’ president and chief executive officer, said.

“In academic medicine, the patients benefit from having an entire medical school faculty on site so that whatever their need, we have someone who has the expertise to diagnose and treat that condition,” McClymonds said. “By bringing the medical offices and hospitals under one management team, we hope to eliminate any organizational barriers to effective patient care.”

“It’s been a three-year journey,” UHA Board Chair Michael Hurst, M.D., said. “Much of what ended up in this agreement grew out of the many discussions held among faculty members and leaders during that period.”

According to state employment data, WVU Hospitals is Monongalia County’s second-largest employer, after the University, and UHA is the fifth largest. Together, the two organizations have nearly 5,000 employees.

Initially, at the operational levels of the hospitals and clinics, there will be little or no change in day-to-day functions, McClymonds said. Staff of UHA and WVUH will retain their current employer, benefits, salaries and reporting relationships.

University Health Associates and WVU Hospitals will maintain their separate governing boards. UHA is governed by a board elected by the medical faculty; WVU Hospitals has a board led by the University president, and is a member of the West Virginia United Health System.


CONTACT: Kim Fetty, HSC News Service