Heart Hearings-Day 2

Heart Health
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The second day of hearings on a Certificate of Need request for open heart surgery services in Parkersburg, featured testimony from both Camden-Clark and St. Joseph's Hospitals.

The head of West Virginia University's Hospital Group sought to explain to the State Health Review Authority its partnership with Camden-Clark. The specific issue: whether that agreement would last beyond the five years for which it would be committed.

"The service by Camden won't necessarily go away after five years," says Bruce McClymonds, president of WVU Hospitals. "It just can't partner with someone else, within our primary service area."

And the agreement between St. Joseph's Hospital and Charleston Area Medican Center is for a shorter length of time: three years.

In addition to the testimony from Camden-Clark's representatives, officials from St. Joseph's Hospital took the stand as well.

St. Joseph's representatives said the use of fellows from WVU's School of Medicine would add to the costs of CCMH's open heart program.

Another witness, Health Care Consultant Steven Bartlemus, said Ohio plays a role in Camden-Clark meeting a ten percent goal in its catheterization facility.

"12 months into June, 2002, Camden didn't maintain or didn't perform more than 10 percent of its cardiac caths," says Bartlemus. "But if you were to look at it for all of 2002, Washington County does get above 10 percent."

Not everyone who's watching the proceedings has ties to the two hospitals. One watching with interest, is a consumer advocate for West Virginia's Insurance group.

"These two applications are quality programs," says Charles Dunn, "both backed up by leaders in those services in West Virginia, so I'm not picking a winner in this one."

Testimony resumes Monday morning, from an expert with West Virginia University's School of Medicine.