Beckley ARH receives approval to expand cardiac services

Rocco Massey, CEO Beckley ARH Hospital (Rick Barbero/The Register-Herald)

The West Virginia Health Care Authority has approved Beckley ARH Hospital’s Certificate of Need application to expand advanced cardiac services — allowing heart attack patients additional local access to life-saving interventional procedures.

The new medical procedure — percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI — is a non-surgical, therapeutic procedure that opens a blocked or narrow artery to restore blood flow, a release from Beckley ARH explains. The procedure uses a catheter to place a stent to open up blood vessels in the heart that have been narrowed by plaque buildup, a condition known as atherosclerosis.

“We saw an increasing need in our community for advanced cardiac care and we are thankful for the West Virginia Health Care Authority’s decision to approve our request,” said Rocco Massey, Beckley ARH CEO. “Previously patients having a heart attack would receive stabilizing initial treatment here but would then have to be transported during this life-threatening event.

"Now, we will be able to immediately perform a PCI in our own state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab.”

Raleigh General Hospital tried to block Beckley ARH's request to the state Health Care Authority, arguing Raleigh General would be significantly affected because it provides similar services. 

The hospitals, both located in Beckley, are four miles apart — a 13-minute drive with light traffic, according to Google Maps.

The Health Care Authority sided with Beckley ARH in the request, but the decision could be appealed. 

The Beckley ARH release said the hospital "is planning to make this service available to the community soon, but could experience delays in doing so if other hospitals choose to appeal the West Virginia Health Care Authority’s decision."

“This is our community. These are our people," Massey said. "In a region as large as the one we serve, we need to be able to treat patients immediately and provide the best care available.

"With this new service, we will be able to do that.”  

— Email: wholdren@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren

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