CHARLESTON, WV – Next week May 7-13, 2023, is National Hospital Week, which presents an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the many community contributions made by hospitals and hospital-based clinicians, caregivers, and support staff. This year’s theme is “We Are Health Care.”
“Community hospitals are essential to the people and places they serve, providing round-the-clock care to patients in need no matter the time of day,” said West Virginia Hospital Association (WVHA) President and CEO Jim Kaufman. “The more than 49,000 health care providers and staff who work in hospitals across West Virginia have demonstrated their tireless commitment to keep West Virginians safe and healthy. Their steadfast mission of caring and compassion has saved lives, healed families, and helped to protect communities.”
Collectively, our hospitals provide acute care and specialty medical services, behavioral health, psychiatric and substance abuse treatment, rehabilitation care, pediatric care, and more to meet the needs of patients across West Virginia. They also conduct research to achieve medical breakthroughs and provide a range of health care services for the residents of West Virginia and surrounding states, including welcoming nearly 16,000 newborns annually and accounting for 300,000 inpatient stays; over 5.6 million outpatient visits; almost 900,000 emergency department visits and 320,00 outpatient surgeries.
In addition to these important services, West Virginia hospitals are the largest component of the health care sector, helping power the state economy as major employers that contribute roughly $12.5 billion in positive economic activity each year.
“As we know, hospitals are not just buildings, but they are people – nurses, doctors, housekeepers, electricians, and countless others all of whom stand ready to answer the call,” said Kaufman. “We are health care, but we are more than just care for our neighbors as we are also fueling economic growth in our communities. Hospitals spend billions of dollars each year and these dollars ripple throughout the community as employees buy houses, cars, and groceries.”
During this special time of recognition, West Virginia hospitals also recognize National Nurses Week which is held annually starting on May 6 and ending on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale. “The nurses in our hospitals and across the state make an incredible difference in the lives of patients every day. Their hard work and dedication to the profession and to caring for patients is appreciated all year long,” said Kaufman.
Kaufman added, “while hospitals are large employers, we still face severe challenges. Like everyone else, we are seeing price increases for pharmaceuticals, food, and electricity, but we cannot adjust our prices to cover these increased costs since the majority of our payment rates are set by the government. We’re also facing significant workforce shortages in nearly every department, including non-clinical areas such as environmental services, nutrition, information technology and finance. We are very appreciative of the work by our Legislature and Governor this past session to help us better navigate these challenges through increased hospital payments from the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA). It takes this type of leadership to help put West Virginia hospitals in the best possible position to ensure all West Virginians receive the care they need and deserve. We look forward to our continued partnership with policymakers so we can deliver on our shared vision: a strong health care delivery system that also improves the economic condition of the state.”
Join us in celebrating National Hospital Week May 7-13, as we say THANK YOU to the health care heroes who make sacrifices to care for us every day. For more information about West Virginia hospitals please visit www.wvha.org, or contact a community hospital in your region as they celebrate National Hospital Week.