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WVU, Sistersville General Hospital Discuss Merger

By Staff | Mar 30, 2016

SISTERSVILLE – West Virginia University Hospitals and City Hall are negotiating a possible a management agreement for Sistersville General Hospital.

“We are negotiating a management agreement with Sistersville General Hospital, but nothing has been finalized,” said Angela Knopf, WVU Hospital spokeswoman. “We are also exploring the possibilities of bringing SGH into the West Virginia United Health System at some point in the future. It would mean that Sistersville residents would have access to the highest levels of care in their own community.”

John May, SGH chief executive officer, confirmed negotiations with WVU Hospitals.

“The City and hospital’s Board of Managers and management are negotiating with WVU in order to bring their services to our community and to provide the stability and resources we need to provide healthcare services to our rural population,” he said.

May said rural hospitals are closing at an increasing frequency due to shrinking populations, diminishing reimbursements, labor shortages, and chronic health conditions like COPD or diabetes.

“It is unfortunate that so many rural residents are at risk to lose their healthcare providers,” he said. “Sistersville General Hospital faces the same factors that have contributed to the increasing trend of closures.”

May said SGH has worked with regional hospitals during the past several years.

“We have worked hard to improve our relationships with other hospitals in our region. We have had relationships with Camden Clark for many years,” he said. “Our relationship has improved and their level of service has increased significantly since they joined WVU Medicine. It is our belief that WVU is in the best position to provide population health services to our service area.”

SGH has been owned by the city for more than 100 years, so council has input in the matter. Tyler County’s only hospital has 12 beds and serves as a first-line care provider for patients.

“As far as SGH and WVU, I know that they are working on some of the contract language to hopefully come to an agreement,” Mayor Bill Rice said.