On Tuesday July, 6th, the Garrett County Commissioners voted unanimously to execute a Letter of intent (LOI) on behalf of Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC) that will allow the local, independent hospital to complete a due-diligence process needed to become a full member hospital of the West Virginia University Health System (WVUHS). The non-binding LOI stipulates how a future agreement between GRMC and the WVU Health System would be structured.
The LOI marks the beginning of the hospital’s due diligence that will take place over the next year. During that time, terms of a final contract between the two entities will be established. Once the terms of a contract are negotiated, the Garrett County Commissioners will then be able to decide whether GRMC becomes a full member of the WVU Health System.
The agreement will be structured as a long-term lease of the facility from the County Commission, in which the county will retain ownership of the facility. WVUHS would create non-profit 501(c)3 corporation that will manage the facility long-term on behalf of the County Commissioners. The board of the hospital will remain intact, and oversee the governance of the hospital in partnership with the board of WVUHS. According to hospital Board Chair, Rev. Dr. C. Scott Robinson, “The Board of Governors is fully supportive of advancing the partnership with WVU Medicine to provide enhanced medical services to Garrett County residents.”
Currently, GRMC, recently named a Top 20 Rural and Community Hospital by the National Rural Health Association, is clinically affiliated with WVU Medicine but is still an independent hospital, which at times has been confusing for patients with respect to insurance coverage and billing. Becoming a full member of WVUHS will enable GRMC to continue to grow its services at its campus in Oakland, Maryland. GRMC already has an array of services that are not normally available at rural hospitals.
“The Letter of Intent allows us to fully explore the terms and conditions that will enable us to successfully partner with WVUHS,” said Mark Boucot, GRMC’s President & CEO. “Full membership in the health system will help GRMC grow its services to an even greater level so that patients will not have to travel for specialty care. We have proven this out by the tremendous success of the WVU Cancer Institute at GRMC and the local satellite office of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute. Our vision to provide exceptional patient care and build a culture of excellence has been greatly supported by our affiliation with WVUHS. Advancing to full membership in the health system will bolster the services we already have and will enable us to implement new service lines in the near future.”
Mr. Boucot was accompanied at the meeting by the hospital Board Chair, Rev. Dr. C. Scott Robinson, along with key members of GRMC’s medical staff. In attendance were Marjorie Fridkin, MD, General Surgeon and Chief Medical Officer; Stanley Lambert, MD, Radiologist and Chief of the Medical Staff; and Dona Alvarez, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon and Medical Staff representative to the Board of Governors.