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Morgan County gains two physicians

October 21, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Two physicians are starting a medical practice at War Memorial Hospital with help from a state grant to aid Morgan County, which faces a shortage in doctors and health professionals, officials said Monday.

The physicians, one of whom is the only certified pediatrician in Morgan County, had wanted to stay in Morgan County after their contract with University Health Association expired, said War Memorial Hospital Administrator David Sweeney.

The hospital now employs Dr. Paul Quarantillo and Dr. Pam Quarantillo to run their medical practice out of the hospital's medical office building, Sweeney said.

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"I think what we're doing is in the best interest of the community," Sweeney said.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources provided a $27,458 grant to cover the expenses of setting up their medical practice at the hospital, said Dayle Stepp, a spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

The grant provides $13,842 for office furniture, $8,461 for medical equipment and supplies, $2,155 for other supplies and $3,000 for legal expenses, according to West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources records.

Morgan County, like many rural communities, does not have enough physicians and medical professionals to serve all the residents, Stepp said.

The federal government designated Morgan County a medically underserved area, Stepp said.

Many people with illnesses have had to travel to either Martinsburg, W.Va., Winchester, Va., Cumberland, Md., or Hagerstown for their medical needs, Sweeney said.

Keeping more physicians at the hospital allows people to stay closer to home for their service, Sweeney said.

War Memorial Hospital currently has 12 physicians on the active medical staff, he said. At one point, the hospital was down to eight active physicians, he said.

Sweeney said family physicians in Morgan County have taken care of the needs of children in the county, but Pam Quarantillo is the only licensed pediatrician in the county.

The pair will serve residents throughout the Tri-State area, Sweeney said.

By having an office at the hospital, residents who otherwise might have gone unnecessarily to the emergency room now have a place to go for non-emergency needs, Stepp said.

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