SOUTH WILLIAMSON, Ky. – Tug Valley Appalachian Regional Healthcare hosted the monthly meeting of the local Chamber of Commerce on Monday on its campus in South Williamson, Ky.
CEO Tim Hatfield gave a power point presentation with a rundown of some of the new physicians that have been hired and other improvements that the local hospital and its clinics have done.
Hatfield started out with a brief history of the local ARH facility. It began as the Miners Memorial Hospital back in 1955 by the UMWA and then it became a part of the Appalachian Regional Hospital chain in 1962. In October of 2015 they changed their name to Tug Valley ARH. Today ARH has 11 hospitals in Kentucky and West Virginia.
Tug Valley ARH is the fourth largest in the chain with 148 beds, 113 in the hospital and 35 in its skilled nursing facility. The local medical company has two clinic buildings for physicians, home health services, homecare services and a system-wide laundry. The ARH purchasing department for the entire chain is also housed in Williamson, along with the regional distribution center.
Hatfield told the chamber members that ARH offers several specialty services such as oncology, pulmonary, cardiology, OB-GYN and many more.
“We invested $8.5 million in the hospital during the late 1990s,” Hatfield stated. “This was remodeled into a state of the art ER, same day surgery unit, medical laboratory and a cosmetic renovation of the entire main building.
There was also a $2 million investment in birthing suites.
Hatfield stated that ARH invested $3 million in an off-site clinic (the old Magic Mart building), $1.5 million in a rehab facility and other equipment like MRI, digital mammogram and CT scanner.
“We now have 35 full-time physicians on staff,” Hatfield added. “We have brought in 25 new physicians in the last nine years.”
The Tug Valley ARH employees 430 people and 184 of those jobs are held by W.Va. residents, according to Hatfield. ARH employees 5,500 system wide and is the largest healthcare employer in eastern Kentucky.
Hatfield estimates that the hospital makes purchases from other regional companies and the estimate is $4,858,850. The estimated local spending by hospital employees is nearly $3 million. He said that the local facility has a big impact on the local economy.
More recently Tug Valley ARH has partnerships or projects with the University of Kentucky, including the Markey Cancer Center and Gill-Heart Institute, and is currently working on a Level Four (4) Trauma Designation with the Blue Angel Project.
They are also working on getting the Oncology Center of Excellence, Stroke Center of Excellence and a $50 million investment for EMR.
Hatfield has recruited several new doctors including a husband and wife team Dr. William Gaunt, a general surgeon and Dr. Tina Gaunt an OB-GYN. Other new doctors are Dr. Imtiaz (who has returned to the area) a pulmonologist, Dr. Edgerton an urologist and Dr. Radja an oncologist. The hospital has also hired several nurse practitioners that have local roots.
ARH has become business partners with Pike County Schools, Mingo County Schools, Norfolk – Southern Railroad, Community Trust Bank, the University of Pikeville and Southern W.Va. Community and Technical College.
Hatfield, a local native, said that ARH holds school fitness fairs; flu shot fairs, community health fairs and business assessments.
He said ARH hopes to continue to grow and serve the citizens of the Tug Valley area.
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)