WVU Medicine, Mon Health continue history of cooperation, competition

MORGANTOWN — WVU Medicine continued to make advances in 2018.

Meanwhile, WVU Medicine and Mon Health continued their history of cooperation and competition — shaking hands over an ambulance agreement while trading lawsuits over doctors who switched teams. The ambulance agreement is covered in our Monongalia County wrap-up.

The university saw a historic gathering of seven presidents in one room and saw five fraternities break away to form their own Interfraternity Council.

Dates are publication dates of the stories.

Trading doctors

Jan. 20: Mon Health recently added four new cardiologists to its Heart and Vascular Center team.

Dr. Robert Hull, Dr. Bradford Warden, Dr. Wissam Gharib and Dr. Samantha Crites joined six other cardiologists at the Mon Health Heart and Vascular Center: Dr. Paul Alappat, Dr. Kishore Bingi, Dr. Michael Englund, Dr. Morgan Lyons, Dr. Michael O’Keefe and Dr. Richard Smith.

Nov. 3: WVU Medical Corp. is suing Mon Health Medical Center and two former WVU cardiologists who went to work for Mon Health.

Two suits were filed in Monongalia County Circuit Court by West Virginia Medical Corp., doing business as University Health Associates (UHA).

UHA manages the clinical practices of faculty at WVU’s School of Medicine, according to the suits.

One suit names Dr. Bradford E. Warden and Monongalia County General Hospital Co. The other names Dr. Wissam Gharib and the hospital.

Monongalia County General Hospital Co. does business as Mon Health.

The suits claim Warden and Gharib breached their contracts by violating their non-compete clauses and Mon Health interfered with those contracts.

Dec. 2: Top executives at Mon Health System and WVU Medicine are in talks to settle their differences in a lawsuit Mon Health Medical Center filed against a former cardiologist who now works for WVU.

WVU Medicine spokeswoman Angela Knopf said WVU Health System President and CEO Albert Wright and Mon Health President and CEO David Goldberg were in talks about the suit “to come to a solution that makes sense for both organizations.”

Monongalia County General Hospital Co., which does business as Mon Health Medical Center sued Dr. John Lobban in May.

Lobban is an employee of WVU who practices at the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute as a member of University Health Associates.

Mon Health alleges when Lobban changed employers, he breached his contract, lured away six other Mon Health employees and misappropriated Mon Health trade secrets to take 400 of his Mon patients to WVU.

The judge recently granted a motion by both parties to extend the deadline to amend pleadings or add new parties to Jan. 18.

WVU Medicine developments

April 29: WVU Medicine continues its march forward, pursuing developments in pediatrics, neurosciences and other areas.

“There are a lot of things that I’m excited about,” said President and CEO Albert Wright.

One of them is the planned 10-story, $152 million WVU Medicine Children’s tower, slated to sit near the southeast side of J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, near the new Heart and Vascular Institute.

The proposed facility will have 150 beds, featuring 50 beds for neonatal intensive care, 40 for pediatric acute care, operating rooms and other facilities.

Dec. 20: Albert Wright offered his vision for the future of the system, and healthcare in the state, to more than 300 system leaders Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re accomplishing amazing things as a healthcare system,” he said during the WVU Medicine System Leadership Meeting.

Wright participates in the Healthcare Advisory Board, a D.C. think tank, that has predicted that at some point there will be just 150 healthcare systems in the nation — an average of three per state, he said. Of course, California, Texas and big states will have far more.

“Our job is to make sure West Virginia gets one by doing a good job,” he said. “If we don’t do our job, we might not have any healthcare entities that are controlled locally here in West Virginia.”

Some smaller hospitals are struggling to survive while bigger systems are growing — as WVUHS has in part — via consolidation, merger and acquisition.

“Are we looking to become part of a larger system? No, we’re looking to be one of those 150 systems,” he said. Now, WVUHS has nine hospitals in its system and manages four more.

WVU frat revolt

June 21: WVU suspended four fraternities following a review by the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life (OFSL).

Pi Kappa Alpha will be suspended indefinitely, losing its recognition as a student organization for violating its current suspension. Phi Sigma Kappa also lost recognition through fall 2020.

Two other fraternities lost recognition from their national organizations and had those actions affirmed by the OFSL working group. Phi Gamma Delta (nicknamed FIJI) lost recognition indefinitely and Sigma Alpha Mu is suspended through fall 2020.

WVU launched the review in February, along with a moratorium on Interfraternity Council activities.

Dean of Students Corey Farris cited ongoing issues with drugs, alcohol, sexual assault and hazing.

Aug. 21: While most of WVU’s Greek chapters are on board with changes the school adopted this month, some remain a little “squishy,” said university president Gordon Gee.

Last week, four fraternities signed off on dissociating from the school. At least one began advertising for rush activities, which were delayed for WVU-sanctioned fraternities until students are on campus for at least one semester.

Alpha Sigma Phi is a recognized fraternity suspended pending resolution of educational sanctions. Phi Sigma Kappa is suspended through spring 2021.

Kappa Alpha Order and Sigma Chi — both suspended from the Interfraternity Council pending action plan approval — did not agree to rescind their notice, though Kappa Alpha “paused” its move.

Sept 25: The WVU chapter of the Theta Chi Fraternity became the second frat to join in the formation of an independent Intrafraternity Council (IFC) over the weekend.

Phi Sigma Kappa led the way with its announcement Saturday. Theta Chi followed Sunday.

The two groups cited different reasons for their decisions. Phi Sigma Kappa is suspended through spring 2021, following the Reaching the Summit (RTS) review process.

Sept 26: The WVU chapter of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity joined the movement to form a new, independent Intrafraternity Council. “We love WVU and the opportunities for success the school has given to us,” the fraternity said in the letter. “Unfortunately, in the past year, the university has enacted policies that have been arbitrary, punitive and adversely impact only fraternities and sororities.”

Sept 28: Five dissociating fraternities formally announced the creation of a new Independent Fraternity Council in Morgantown. The fraternities are Alpha Sigma Phi, Kappa Alpha Order, Phi Sigma Kappa, Sigma Chi and Theta Chi, they said in a joint release.

They are opening their doors to others who wish to leave the WVU fold.

Shortly after, WVU banned them for at least 10 years. WVU, in a release, cited a letter from President Gordon Gee to the campus community.

WVU sent letters to the local chapters of the dissociating fraternities and listed 11 consequences of the ban.

Sept 29: In light of five fraternities dissociating from and being banned by WVU, Monongalia County Assessor Mark Musick is investigating whether the frat house properties are now subject to taxation.

Musick said he began looking into the issue several weeks ago, when the fraternity controversy first arose. He’s had meetings on it and is gathering information, but hasn’t reached a conclusion.

Oct 23: WVU is offering members in good standing of the Interfraternity Council a second recruitment period. It’s a pilot program developed by IFC students, WVU President Gordon Gee said in a release.

Other WVU developments

June 11: WVU Dean of Students Corey Farris spelled out some of the reasoning behind and expected benefits of the university’s recent decision to outsource its dining services.

On May 25, the Board of Governors approved the selection of Sodexo — which operates concessions at the sports facilities — to take over dining services operations.

Farris said the decision was a response to several needs, including keeping up with evolving student needs and tastes in foods and modernizing facilities.

Sodexo will handle operations at the Mountainlair food court, the residence halls, executive catering at the president’s residence and other function, meal options and plans, and operations at WVU Tech and Jackson’s Mill.

July 27: The WVU Foundation announced it raised more than $161 million during Fiscal Year 2018, making it the second-highest fundraising year in its history, the foundation reported.

The exact figure was $161,029,056; it came from 23,161 donors who gave 46,056 gifts during the period of July 1, 2017, through June 30 this year. About half the donors —12,471 — are alumni. Thirty-one donors gave $1 million or more, accounting for $96.5 million or 60 percent of the $161 million.

The highest year for giving, the foundation said, was FY 2012, when $173.9 million came in.

Nov 10: WVU has renamed its business school as the John Chambers College of Business and Economics, after WVU alumnus and chairman emeritus of global technology giant Cisco Systems Inc.

Chambers and WVU also announced Friday an agreement that will provide WVU “significant financial and intellectual resources” in the form of a gift of time, talent and treasure to support a recently announced start-up engine at the college. WVU and Chambers agreed not to disclose the dollar amount.

Dec 7: Seven WVU presidents, spanning the years 1977 to today, gathered on a single stage to share their thoughts on higher education and WVU’s place in West Virginia and in their hearts.

“This is awesome, look at this lineup,” said Jim Clements, who served 2009-’13, during a press meeting prior to the main event.

They were there for the WVU Festival of Ideas Presidents Panel Discussion: The Future of Higher Education.

On hand were Gene Budig, 1977-’89; Diane Reinhard, acting president 1985-’86; Neil Bucklew, 1986-’95; David Hardesty, 1995-2007; Peter Magrath, interim president 2008-’09; Clements; and Gordon Gee, 1981-’85 and 2014 to the present.

Dec 15: Vaping may soon be a thing of the past on WVU property. The Board of Governors approved a proposed change to the university’s tobacco and smoke-free campus rule was unanimously approved on first reading.

WVU General Counsel Gary Furbee explained the new rule would “include the addition of vaping for prohibition.”

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