Roger Sheppard Editorial: July 23, 2016

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I got a good lesson in the power of the people recently.

A couple of weeks ago, we heard that there was a problem with the proposed nursing home in Elizabeth. The problem was that it was not going to receive any federal funding since it fell outside the scope of services of Coplin Health Services.

Coplin was building the nursing home after getting a number of grants and donations.

It’s been a long struggle to get a nursing home for Wirt County, the only county in West Virginia that does not have a nursing home that would like to have one.

We started digging into the story. We could not get anyone from Coplin to comment.

But we did find knowledgeable sources outside of Coplin who WOULD comment.

We ran a story on Thursday, July 7th.

On Friday, July 8th, Coplin came out with a news release, claiming it wanted to correct some errors in our report. There were no errors in our report.

We didn’t have all of the information, since Coplin personnel wouldn’t comment. But what we reported was accurate.

The news release stated that Coplin had decided to turn the nursing home into a community health care facility.

That would be fine except what the residents had really wanted for more than 20 years, was a nursing home. And some of the services to be offered at the new center, were ones that had been offered there before but had failed for lack of use.

Residents, who rely on WTAP as a main source of their news, were incensed. They turned out for a Coplin Board meeting in large numbers. Some began looking for alternatives.

They may have found one in Mike Miller, who owns Ohio Valley Health Care in Wood County. He may be interested in buying and operating the as-yet-un-finished building as a nursing home.

A lot of hurdles have yet to be crossed before the much-needed nursing home in Elizabeth ever opens.

The biggest one is whether Coplin will ask for a fair or an inflated price for the un-finished building, and whether Miller thinks he can make a go of it.

But it’s amazing what a little information and a group of concerned citizens can do.

That’s this week’s editorial.

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