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Jefferson Memorial Hospital receives 'critical' designation

January 20, 2006

RANSON, W.Va. - A new designation for Jefferson Memorial Hospital will put the facility in a position to attract more physicians, purchase new equipment, expand the emergency department and offer all private rooms for patients, according to hospital officials.

The advancements will be possible because of a "critical access designation" that has been awarded to the hospital by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, according to a news release from the hospital.

With the new designation, Jefferson Memorial Hospital's Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements will switch to a more favorable system available for community hospitals. That change is expected to improve the hospital's net income in 2006, providing more funds to enhance the hospital's facilities and patient-care services.

"Small hospitals across the country struggle under the Medicare payment system," said Roger Eitelman, president and chief executive officer of West Virginia University Hospitals-East, the organization that now oversees Jefferson Memorial Hospital and City Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va.

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"In order to assist these hospitals, the federal government established the Critical Access status to ensure that residents in rural communities have adequate hospital services available," Eitelman said.

Under the new designation, Jefferson Memorial Hospital will be licensed for 25 acute-care beds. Each bed will be in a private patient room, the release said.

Jefferson Memorial Hospital also recently expanded its skilled nursing and rehabilitation unit from 10 beds to 20 beds, increasing the hospital's total bed capacity to 45, the release said.

The skilled nursing unit is designed for patients who no longer require acute care, but still require additional skilled nursing and rehabilitation care before returning home.

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