Another West Virginia hospital announces cutbacks

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday said he’s starting to form a rural medicine task force after cutbacks were announced at yet another West Virginia hospital.

The Republican governor said Pleasant Valley Hospital in Point Pleasant is cutting 53 full-time jobs and shuttering obstetric services. He said he met with key health care stake holders to begin the process of creating a task force to study the issue.

“The road that led us to what we have seen in recent months – community hospitals across our state shrinking or closing altogether – started a long time ago,” Justice said. “But now it’s our responsibility to look under every rock for solutions.”

In the last year, hospitals have closed in Bluefield, Richwood and Wheeling. Williamson Memorial Hospital filed for bankruptcy in October, and a nonprofit system that operates hospitals in Charleston and South Charleston announced last month it planned to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy but would remain open.

Officials also recently announced that a hospital in Ashland, Kentucky, near Huntington, West Virginia, would shut down later this year.

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