Mon Health, CAMC celebrate anniversary of union as Vandalia Health

MORGANTOWN – Vandalia Health – the union of Mon Health System and Charleston Area Medical Center – turns one this month.

David Goldberg, president and CEO of Mon Health System and executive vice president of Vandalia Health talked with The Dominion Post about what Vandalia is and where it’s going.

The Vandalia name is a familiar one, he said, stemming from a proposed British colony in the 1700s that covered portions of what are now West Virginia and Kentucky. “The Vandalia name is really appropriate.”

Vandalia has 10 hospitals with almost 1,400 beds and more than 180 locations, reaching into Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. It also has seven telemedicine hubs. It’s the state’s second-largest employer with nearly 12,000 employees.

CAMC – Vandalia South – has grown from four to six hosptials, acquiring Greenbrier Valley Medical Center in January and Plateau Medical Center in Fayette County in April.

CAMC also has an Institute for Academic Medicine, Goldberg said, with residency and fellowship programs owned and operated by CAMC, working with WVU Health Sciences.

Mon Health – Vandalia North – has four hospitals and by itself is the state’s ninth-largest employer, he said, with more than 400 doctors and more than 55 sites across 12 counties. With a long list of services it provides, he found it quicker to list what it doesn’t: neurosurgery, transplants, LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device) or burn care.

Vandalia has six affiliate hospitals and three of them will soon be full members – Broaddus Hospital, Davis Medical Center and Webster County Memorial Hospital – after the state approves the certificate of need for the Davis Health System to become Vandalia’s third system, coming in as part of Vandalia North.

Goldberg has been meeting regularly with the Davis folks, he said. “What a great group of people.”

The organization is doing “extremely well financially,” he said, beating its budget in both regions – getting paid for what they do, no more or less, and reinvesting in wages and salaries, but also putting money in to sustain and grow the system to make sure patients have access to the highest quality care.

They will be replacing the old Stonewall hospital on 17 acres at that site, he said, and will break ground on Mon Health Harrison at Charles Pointe.

For the patients, Goldberg said, they don’t see visible differences. It’s still Mon or CAMC with the familiar logos and doctors and nurses.

But “what’s happening behind the scenes has been very robust sharing to improve outcomes.” Doctors north and south are sharing best practices more than ever to improve outcomes and reduce variability of care. North and south each have access to expertise and equipment and specialists they didn’t have before.

Recognitions continue, he said. CAMC has been recognized by Forbes for the fifth straight year as a best in-state employer. Stonewall and Mon Health both were rated 4-star hospitals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. And U.S. News & World Report recognized Mon Health Medical Center as High Performing in heart failure and COPD treatment.

“We’re celebrating what really matters is quality and engagement,” he said.

Vandalia, he said, is invested and ingrained in its communities. North and south are both governed by West Virginia residents and boards. They are focused on what the communities need and keeping care in the communities.

Under their combined resources, he said, nephrology can come to Davis, endocrinology to Morgatown, cardiology to Parkersburg. And the telemedicine hubs enable people to get treatment where they are without traveling into the cities.

“The community knows who they’re going to,” he said. Behind the scenes they can share computer systems, pool and reduce costs of purchasing and improve affordability while mainlining local focus.

Next year they will recruit more doctors and nurses and provide pay increases. They are partnering with colleges to train and hire nurses, pharmacy techs and X-ray techs. They are now contracting less than 40 agency nurses across the north compared to more than 200 during the peak of COVID.

“We’re doing our part to pay competitively but also have a great environment where they feel good about the work they do,” Goldberg said.

One last point he made was that patient volumes are higher than ever before. “People are choosing us and they’re seeing the difference.”