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Marshall Health center to host Teays Valley grand opening celebration Saturday

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By Sam Sentelle

Putnam Rotary

Dr. Larry D. Dial Jr., Marshall Health chief medical officer, (center) is shown with Katie Thornhill (left), manager for the new Teays Valley center, and Beth L. Hammers, chief administrative officer for both Marshall Health and the School of Medicine, at a Putnam Rotary meeting last month in Hurricane. Courtesy photo

Marshall Health, a not-for-profit corporation affiliated with the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, will celebrate the opening of a clinical center in Teays Valley on Saturday, June 10.

Located in the former Patriot Coal building at 300 Corporate Center Drive, Scott Depot, the building dedication, beginning at 10 a.m., will include a Community Health Fair.

Free screenings and consultations will be offered. along with vertical jump and agility tests.

Dr. Larry Dial, Chief Medical Officer for Marshall Health, announced the dedication and health fair to Putnam Rotarians at their weekly luncheon in Hurricane on May 23.

While Marshall Health has been serving the area in several locations, the new clinic center will consolidate operations under one roof. Care for high-demand specialties will be available every weekday, and rotating services for other specialties.

“You won’t need to travel to Charleston or Huntington for the care you need,” Dial told his audience.

The School of Medicine and Marshall Health are separate, he said. They each have their own governing board, but the organizations share staff and resources for training and research.

“This means you don’t have just one doctor thinking about you. You have six to nine physicians. The mission carries over from the bedside practice in the hospital to all of our outpatient facilities.

“It does take time away from our other clinical obligations, but we incorporate a lot of that together. And, ultimately, I think it’s better care.

“If you do have someone who’s really thinking and looking at your situation, whether it be a primary-care physician or otherwise, you get better quality care. And we do have some outcomes to demonstrate that.”

Health care is changing, Dial said. Entering private practice today is difficult. “There are very few private practitioners out there these days. There has to be some collaboration or [peer] support.

“[We have] 65 specialties and sub-specialties, and we continue to grow. We have research trials in each of these areas.

“No longer do you have to go to Ohio State to get oncology care. Many of the same types of oncology cancer chemotherapy trials we do in Huntington. We have an arrangement with Ohio State. We’re affiliated with other institutions including the Markey Cancer Center at UK.

“State support is important. We are currently supported by the state at 11 percent; that is much higher than the average across the nation.

“However, the clinical engine drives our medical school at 43 percent.” The national statistic is 38 percent.

“Why is that important? Because it’s well-proven that where you do your education, where you do your residency, there is a high likelihood -- higher than nay other predictor -- that you’ll practice within 50 miles.

“If we can keep physicians practicing, training, in West Virginia, we can deliver the clinical cases.

“We are becoming more dependent on state and hospital support.

“[There have been] $11.5 million in cuts since 2013 to Marshall University. This has been covered by $3.8 tuition increases in tuition and fees, $1.5 million from reserve funds, and $6.2 million from increased efficiencies and cancelled positions.

“I started at the old C&O Hospital on Sixth Avenue in Huntington. That was the medical school proper -- three buildings ago. We went from a small, old railroad hospital where we did our entire clinical practice to 1,200 employees in a matter of 10 to 15 years.

“We’re up to 245 physicians,” said Dial. “We have 197 trainees -- they’ve finished medical school so they are physicians -- and they’re going on to do specializations.”

In the region now, Marshall Health has multi-specialty services at five sites, 21 satellite offices in eight counties and in-patient services at seven hospitals.

In 2015-16 some 423,977 unduplicated patients were seen and treated by Marshall Health, up from 293,456 in 2011-12.

“Health care is changing,” Dial said. “Competition cannot continue. We need to get the right patient at the right place, and at the right time.

“We don’t need more patients in Huntington. And many patients we can care for at Pleasant Valley, at Teays Valley. We need to provide physicians there with support services.”

Marshall Health purchased the 51,000-square-foot Patriot Coal building last year. The center opened to patients a month ago with several specialties available under one roof.

The Teays Valley clinic has a laboratory on-site, X-ray services, a pharmacy and a cafe dining area.

Building tours and food will be provided at the dedication on Saturday, along with free screenings for blood pressure, glaucoma, blood sugar, migraines, sun damage and more.

Dedication of the clinic is scheduled for 10 a.m. The Community Health Fair will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.


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