Businesses Reaffirm Commitment to Tyler County
MIDDLEBOURNE – Sistersville General Hospital and Long Reach Federal Credit Union have expanded their offerings to the Tyler County Seat.
SGH expanded its rural health care options at the old Middle Island Health Care Clinic located on 100 Fair St. The credit union’s main office had been located in Friendly, but it has moved to 315 Main St. The company maintains its branch office in Friendly.
Eric Peters, executive director for the Tyler County Development Authority, said the investment in Middlebourne bodes well for both businesses and the county.
SGH’s rural health clinic opened in early January and seeks to provide expand primary care service.
“It’s very commendable that Sistersville General Hospital recognized a need in Middlebourne for better access to basic health care services and took action to provide such services to more Tyler County citizens,” Peters said. “The opening of this clinic meets a need and hopes provide a better quality of life for more Tyler County residents.”
Peters praised the credit union’s move from a smaller facility to a larger one in the county seat.
“Naturally, the development authority welcomes investment in Tyler County and we recognize the commitment this investment by the credit union demonstrates,” he said.
SGH is a 12-bed general acute hospital that has been designated a Critical Access Hospital (CAH), said John May, SGH chief executive officer. The CAH designation indicates that the hospital’s target population is at risk due to chronic health problems or economic status. He said the hospital provides in excess of 90 percent of its care in an outpatient setting. The focus of healthcare has been shifting from “sick care” to “health care.”
“In order to achieve gains in the population health of our market area, we need to get out into our community,” May said. “We opened the St Marys Express Care in 2014. Moving the rural health clinic to Middlebourne was a second step to providing services closer to the patients’ homes.”
May said the move would not only provide more space for the new clinic, but would free more space for specialty offerings within SGHl. He described the 3,700 square foot clinic not as an emergency room, but more as a clinic where patients can seek primary care the same as that which their doctors provide.
May said as healthcare shifts from pay for service to pay for performance, the hospital and its providers must position themselves to possibly take risk contracts or other form of reimbursement that will require population health management.
“The focus of the agreements will be centered in primary care,” he said. “It only makes sense to move the provision of primary care out into the community. The hospital will continue to operate all of its ancillary services out of the campus in Sistersville.”
The family practice based clinic provided many services. Open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, the clinic accepts patients from the ages of 2-years-old to the elderly. The clinic see walk-ins daily, which may consist of anything that a patient would be seen for at an express care center. The clinic draws lab work Monday thru Friday 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. as long as there is an order. The clinic also conducts physicals and is involved with some birth control management (Nexplanon, Mirena, IUD).
“We can assist people with preventive healthcare closer to home,” said Melissa Maston, an experienced longtime nurse in Tyler County. “We can do anything a family provider can do, manage your blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid issues and more.”
Maston said the clinic will make a difference in people’s lives.
“One of my goals when I became a nurse practitioner was to provide health care to my community,” she said. “There are many people who are located in Middlebourne and the surrounding area who are unable to travel to see a provider. I feel the move from Sistersville General to Middlebourne was a step in the right direction.”
Maston welcomes friends and neighbors to the clinic.
“Nothing makes me happier than to be able to help my friends, family, and neighbors,” she said.
Maston said there is a virtue of being a country health care provider that a patient wouldn’t necessarily get from a clinic in a big city.
“My patients are my family,” she said. “This is not an assembly line clinic. I am hear to listen to you, care for you, and take care of you!”
The credit union opened at its new location in January with the Friendly office now serving as a fully operational branch office the same as the company’s other offices in St. Marys and Ellenboro. The hours of operation are between 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and between 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturdays.
“We are still open for the members in the Friendly office and they are able to do the same business as always,” said Crystal Rocchio, assistant manager for the credit union. “We made the move because our credit union is growing in leaps in bounds and we needed more space. The new office building allowed us to have more space and have all of our main operations in one location.”
Rocchio said Tyler County is good fit for the credit union.
“Tyler County is a wonderful place to locate a business. Prior to the new location, our Middlebourne office was a branch location,” she said. “With the move, we became the main office. We have been in the area for quite some time now and really enjoy the members here just as we do in all of our locations. The board of directors and staff are committed to providing the area with the best financial services possible because we are your friends and neighbors. When you benefit, we all benefit by keeping our money in the local economy.”
Rocchio said the credit union is member-owned, so unlike most financial institutions, it does not issue stock or pay dividends to outside stockholders. Instead, earnings are returned to our members in the form of lower loan rates, higher interest on deposits and lower fees, she said. Rocchio described the credit union as this way – “We are not for profit, not for charity, but for service.”
Rocchio praised credit union members as the reason the business serves Tyler County.
“There is no better time to join the credit union,” she said..” If you live, work, worship, or attend school in, and have businesses and other legal entities in Tyler, Pleasants, Ritchie or Doddridge County, you are eligible to become a member,” she said. “We encourage you to join us and reap the benefits that your local credit union offers … The board of directors and staff are all dedicated to serving the membership and welcome all eligible members to visit any of our branches to see how your credit union can benefit you and your family.”
For more information about the credit union, see lrefcu.org/ASP/home.asp