CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Members of the Joint Committee on Government Organization met this evening to discuss the Jackie Withrow Hospital.
The committee was presented an audit performed by the Performance Evaluation and Research Division of the Legislative Auditor’s Office to ascertain the hospital’s performance and if it complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The Pinecrest Hospital was renamed Jackie Withrow Hospital after the late Raleigh County Delegate Jackie Withrow. It was constructed in 1927 to hold about 600 tuberculosis patients in the 1930s, but it can currently serve approximately 199 patients.
The hospital, which hasn’t served a tuberculosis patient since 2006, received a renovation for tuberculosis treatment in 2009 at a cost of over $1.9 million. As a result, its patient costs have decreased since 2013, but according to the report, its maintenance and expenditures continue to be high.
“In addition, the tuberculosis unit located at Jackie Withrow Hospital is a blocked-off area in the facility that is fully equipped to treat patients with tuberculosis but is not being used,” said DHHR in the report back in 2020.
The report found that the high cost due to extensive repairs and upgrades. In addition, the hospital only uses about 50 percent of its available facility. Jackie Withrow had the third-highest cost-per-patient ($109,597) and the highest overall expenditures ($8,637,706).
This hospital has had the highest utility costs of all four state-operated long-term healthcare facilities, and the maintenance costs of Jackie Withrow are second to Hopemont Hospital. The report presented that it would cost less to build a new, similar facility rather than repair and update the current facility.
In 2013, the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) agreed to develop a proposal for a new building but never took action.
“In addition, the costs for building a new size-appropriate facility would be offset in the long-run by the cost-savings realized by the decrease in operational and maintenance costs,” the audit said.
Images included in the report show damaged floors and water damage. Heating is required for the whole building, but only 50 percent is utilized due to access being cut off to part of the hospital due to unusable hallways and floors.
The audit also added that the governor makes decisions on what to include in an agency’s budget request; it recommended to DHHR that the process begin to propose a new building.
Another issue found on the audit is that Withrow Hospital is determined to be ADA compliant.
The most recent survey was conducted in October of 2019, in which the Centers for Medicare and Medical Services “did not find any ADA-related deficiencies.”
The conclusion of the survey stated Jackie Withrow is compliant with the ADA. It also recommended that Jackie Withrow Hospital is to “comply with all ADA standards applicable to its facility.”