A recent bill proposed in the legislature aims to sell health care facilities run by the state. Jackie Withrow Hospital in Beckley is on the list. The proposed House Bill 4352 was introduced on February 2, 2016. If the bill passes, it would give the Secretary of Department of Health and Human Resources until November 30, 2016 to submit a plan to sell the facilities.
Vickie Jones, Commissioner for the DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities said ,”If the proposed legislation is passed by the West Virginia Legislature and signed by the Governor, the DHHR will comply with a full assessment or study of these facilities. We appreciate the hard work and dedication of our employees as they provide quality healthcare to our patients.”
For Robert Adkins it’s a proposal that hit home. He knows people who benefited from being at the hospital.
Adkins said, “I really don’t agree with it simply for the fact that as impoverished as the area is to start with, nobody in the area will be able to afford it if it becomes private even with the health care system we have since it’s so messed up. Nobody would be able to afford it.”
Debbie Goodard of Beckley is worried about the hospital’s future if it transfers to a private owner.
Goodard said, “I think it ought to be state owned. I think it’s taken care of more properly.”
Again, House Bill 4352 is just a proposal at this point. It the bill passes, Jackie Withrow Hospital would no longer be state owned but privately owned.