Congress, Healthcare

Capito tours Mon Health, gets a look at innovations and programs

MORGANTOWN – Sen. Shelley Moore Capito took a tour of Mon Health Medical Center Monday afternoon, following a visit to the Northern Panhandle. The tour came at the invitation of Mon Health President and CEO David Goldberg.

The first stop was a big green bus, the Ron and Stephanie Stovash Mobile Nursing Lab, operated in collaboration West Virginia Junior College to train staff across the Mon Health System.

Capito takes the controls of the Da Vinci.

This is one of three such labs operated by WVJC. This one is named Mary Virginia (the others are Charlene and Florence) and contains two simulation hospital rooms where nurses and even doctors can practice their skills and learn new techniques on Apollo and Lucinda – life-like mannequins programmed to simulate real-world experiences providers will encounter in their classes and careers.

Next, Dr. Jaschar Shakuri-Rad, urologist and chief of robotic surgery, showed Capito the operating room featuring the Da Vinci Xi Surgical System. Dr. Rad, as he’s called, performed the first single-port (single-incision) robotic precedure for a urologic case in West Virginia.

This minimally invasive surgery, he said, allows for shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery and fewer complications than a surgery with a big incision. It’s beneficial for West Virginia, which has a hig proportion of obese patients who would require big incisions under old methods.

In the mobile nursing lab: from left, Christine Daniels, Mon Health Medical Center associate chief nursing officer; Krystal Atkinson, MHMC chief administrative officer and chief nursing executive for Mon Health System; Capito; Brian Harris, West Virginia Junior College simulation technician; Chad Callen, WVJC CEO.

He demonstrated the control station – where the surgeon sits and operates the robot remotely – and allowed Capito a try at picking up a plastic card.

“This is the next frontier in surgery,” he said. And the Da Vinci manufacturer has selected Mon Health as a training site for the whole country, so surgeons will come to Morgantown to learn how to use the machine.

Capito also visited the cath lab, where Dr. Bradford Warden, executive director and interventional cardiologist at Mon Health Heart & Vascular Center, explained what goes on there; and the birthing center, where staff talked about Mon Health’s program to help mothers deal with perinatal mood disorder, which can occur from pregnancy through up to a year after giving birth.

After the visit, Capito said she’s been to Mon Health before at Goldberg’s invitation, but this time she was interested in innovations going on there – such as the robotic surgery and advances in cardiac catheter procedures. “I think it’s exciting that it’s happening here in Mon Health.”

Capito and Dr. Brad Warden in the cardiac cath lab.

On Mon’s postpartum depression program, she said, “Preventive medicine is so critical, and in that area it’s been kind of overlooked. It’s really critical in terms of not just the life of the mother but the life of the baby and future life.”

More generally, she said, “It’s just great to meet the staff.”

Commenting on the mobile nursing lab and the national nursing shortage, she said, “Mon Health is not just waiting for us, the federal government, to solve their issues. They’re working with educational institutions to meet their challenges. I think that’s going to be the secret sauce to getting everything done.”

Goldberg said he was pleased Capito was able to visit. “We are so lucky in West Virginia. We don’t always see our senators come and actually ask, ‘What can we do, how can we get out of your way, how can we reduce regulation?’ Sen. Capito is leading the way and we’re thrilled she is here and is our senator.”

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