Community Hospitals Are Closing at an Alarming Rate

As Goes The Nation – So Goes West Virginia

Rural hospitals are in a terrible crisis as 120 facilities across the nation have closed over the past 10 years, and here in West Virginia, we’ve already lost hospitals in Wheeling, Fairmont and Williamson. These facilities closed principally due to poor financial performance. And in Charleston, one of the state’s biggest health care providers has sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its long-term debt.

Low Reimbursement Rates to Blame

West Virginia Health care providers are dealing with rising costs and shrinking budgets in a rural state with a higher percentage of government payers, whose reimbursements do not cover the full cost of treatment. In West Virginia, 1.1 million people are covered by public insurance policies such as Medicaid, Medicare and the Public Employees Insurance Agency, known as PEIA. All of those plans reimburse health care providers only 32 cents for every dollar of care they provide. Hospitals can’t survive on partial payments.

Private Industry is Sustaining the System

Right now, the survival of our hospitals is directly tied to private industry. Private insurance plans pay substantially higher reimbursement rates to hospitals than public insurance policies do. One major industry offering such coverage is the building and construction trades. More than 20,000 West Virginians and their families are covered under health insurance programs supported by this vital industry.

Private Insurance Plans in Jeopardy

Unfortunately, the building and construction trades, along with many associated privately insured businesses, are struggling to provide healthcare coverage to local workers because of the repeal of West Virginia’s Prevailing Wage Law. Prevailing wage makes it possible for businesses to compete with fly-by-night, out-of-state companies that pay substandard wages and don’t provide health insurance. Now, responsible Mountain State businesses are fighting for survival. It’s only a matter of time before they will be forced to cut their healthcare plans. Once those plans are gone, hospitals will fail at a rapid rate.

You Can Help Save Our Hospitals

You can help save our local hospitals by supporting the restoration of West Virginia’s Prevailing Wage Law. Won’t you lend your voice to the thousands of Mountaineers calling for the restoration of this law? It’s easy to do by signing our petition. Please get on board and help us to restore prevailing wage to Restore West Virginia!

Sign the Petition

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