WV hospitals to receive Save Our Care funding beginning this week

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — About $17 million is going to 40 West Virginia hospitals beginning this week to support overtime, temporary staffing and retention bonuses for health care employees as part of Governor Jim Justice’s Save Our Care initiative.

Bill Crouch

The governor announced the program last month to help hospitals and nursing homes as they deal with a surge in COVID-19 patients.

“These people are true heroes and we should always remember that going forward,” Justice said during his Friday coronavirus media briefing.

The first phase of the funding will help cover staffing costs from the pandemic’s surge in August. A second phase will cover staffing costs from September.

Bill Crouch, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Resources, said the total cost of the initiative could reach $35 million.

“We’re looking specifically at staffing costs related to the current surge so that our funding does not overlap with other federal funding that hospitals receive,” Crouch said.

Albert Wright
Photo/WVU Medicine

Albert Wright, president and CEO of the WVU Hospital System, said it’s been a struggle.

“This current surge has been the most challenging thing I have seen in my 25-year career,” he said.

Wright said the funding will put them in a better position to directly support their employees while also ensuring patients receive the care they need.

“It will allow us to bring in some travel staff, to pay some overtime and bonus some of our staff that we need to retain,” Wright said.

Wright said about 90 percent of their staff are vaccinated.

“So they’re listening to the governor’s message and going out and getting those vaccinations, so I think that’s encouraging,” he said.

The system earlier announced a vaccine mandate for employees, with Oct. 31 as the deadline.

West Virginia reported 840 hospitalizations Monday. Active COVID cases statewide continue to fall and are now at 10,561. Wright said it’s a positive sign.

“It’s encouraging to see the numbers coming down,” he said. “The cases in the state will come down a little quicker than hospitalizations, but I’m happy to see those coming down.”

September funding will most likely be sent out in a couple of weeks.

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