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Morgan Co. officials want to maintain control of their hospital

March 24, 2006|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - A meeting with Gov. Joe Manchin did little to sway the opinions of two Morgan County Commission members on having the county-owned War Memorial Hospital join forces with WVU Hospitals-East, Commissioner Bob Ford said Thursday.

Manchin met with Morgan County Commissioners at Eastern W.Va. Regional Airport in Martinsburg, W.Va., on Wednesday to discuss the future of War Memorial Hospital.

Ford said Manchin requested the meeting to talk with Commission President Glen Stotler and Commissioner Tommy Swaim, who are against War Memorial becoming part of WVU Hospitals-East, a matter which was discussed earlier this month at a commission meeting.

Ford said "there was no changing their minds." He said no action will be taken at today's commission meeting, and there's no reason to hold a public hearing because the two commissioners do not want to lose control of the hospital.

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Commissioner Tommy Swaim said he and Stotler "expressed their feelings to Manchin and explained all the reasons why we ought to have the contract with Valley Health."

Swaim said "we have control of the hospital and appointed the board. We want to maintain control of the hospital."

Ford said for the past 16 years, "War Memorial offers very few services, and it will remain a diagnostic center."

Ford said he will research the steps needed to allow the issue to be decided by a public referendum.

On March 10, officials from WVU Hospitals-East met with the commissioners to discuss options for the county to allow WVU Hospitals-East to take over War Memorial Hospital's operation and ownership.

The hospital is currently managed by Valley Health Care in Winchester, Va., and is owned by Morgan County.

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