MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU Health System’s CEO Albert Wright Jr., is excited about the pending addition of Braxton County Memorial Hospital to the WVUH family.

“They’re a forward thinking board,” he said in a phone call with WAJR. “They started to think about — it was very important to them to make sure that they continue to have healthcare in Braxton County around in that part of the state for the next 50 years.”

Wright said discussions involving the 37-year-old hospital’s inclusion in the WVU Medicine family began more than a year ago, culminating in a letter of intent signed Wednesday.

“I went back and started to talk to our hospital board at WVU Hospitals in Morgantown and our board that is represented by individuals from around the state, and we’re excited to be moving forward,” he said. “We think we can help Braxton County, not only maintain the great services that they provide today, but we can add to those services by bringing more physicians into that market.”

Located in what is essentially the dead center of the state, Wright said the hospital — serving Braxton County and parts of Clay, Gilmer, Lewis, Nicholas, and Webster counties — faces some unique challenges.

“They only might need a half a cardiologist, but unfortunately you can’t recruit a half a cardiologist,” Wright said. “For us, between our sites in Morgantown and Bridgeport, we already have cardiologists in those areas. We can easily put somebody in their market one or two days a week.”

BCMH will apply for a certificate of need from the state Healthcare Authority, aiming to join eight other hospitals in the state. Wright expects the addition to be a ‘boon’ for rural healthcare.

“They’re probably going to be able to get very high quality providers, because when we tether it to WVU Medicine and the university, that’s attractive for a physician to be attached to us,” Wright said.

Wright said he anticipates an increase in overall staff size. Additionally, WVU Health Systems plans on providing BCMH with a new roof.

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