CLARKSBURG – Mon Health System inked an affiliation agreement with Highland-Clarksburg Hospital during a Tuesday morning ceremony at the hospital.
Highland-Clarksburg reached out to Mon Health, said hospital CEO Victoria Jones, in order to partner and be a part of a larger health system, to run more efficiently, create opportunities they would not have had on their own and to share resources across the state.
Highland-Clarksburg Hospital opened in 2013 on the former site of United Hospital Center. It’s a 115-bed, private, nonprofit hospital offering comprehensive behavioral health services for children, adolescents, adults and forensic patients. It employs nearly 300 people.
Jones said during her opening remarks that Highland-Clarksburg is one of only two psychiatric hospitals in the state offering services to youths (the other being the similarly named but unaffiliated Highland Hospital in Charleston) and as such has a special meaning for the area, as a community-based hospital with a community-based focus.
She praised the staff. “They take pride in all that they do. They’re dedicated to those we serve.”
Former state Sen. Roman Prezioso, chair of the Mon Health Medical Center board, talked about health care choice, healthy competition, escalating health care costs and how affiliations can help contain costs.
This partnership, he said, will allow Highland-Clarksburg to achieve operational cost efficiencies using Mon Health business support services.
“The alliance between Mon Health and Highland Hospital will maintain the strong network of hometown, top-quality hospitals that have a legacy of serving their communities with distinction,” he said.
Jill Rice, Highland-Clarksburg Hospital board chair, said, “We’re going to do some great things.”
Their mission, she said, is serving the most vulnerable population. “We have to continue to do that.”
Drawing employees from several counties, she said, the hospital serves as a regional economic engine.
But that’s not the bottom line, she said. “We can talk about health care and reimbursement and regulations and a transaction, but that’s not what the core of health care is, and what we’re doing. This is about serving people.”
And Mon Health has the same heart, she said. “This is really the right thing for Highland-Clarksburg Hospital” and the region.
Mon Health President and CEO David Goldberg talked about Mon’s prior affiliation with Grafton City Hospital and that it wasn’t a one-way street. Grafton learned from Mon and Mon learned from Grafton. And Mon will learn from this new affiliation as well.
Mon Health offers some behavioral health services, he said, but it’s not a strong part of what they do. This partnership will supplement what they already have and expand access to care.
“We need strong behavioral health care now more than ever before,” he said. “The stigma of the past, of not investing in behavioral health is an abomination.”
Goldberg addressed questions about Highland-Clarksburg’s identity in the future. Its logo won’t change, he said; Mon’s logo will be integrated as Highland-Clarksburg wants it to be.
“It’s a partnership, a collaboration. It’s a clinical affiliation,” he said.
Both boards endorsed the affiliation and Highland-Clarksburg’s board will maintain oversight of the hospital.
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