West Virginia's state-run hospitals should be privatized, report says

West Virginia should consider looking into privatization options for the state's seven hospitals, according to a report obtained by The Inter-Mountain.

The report, released Jan. 7 by the Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia, argued that the state should consider creating a commission to review each of its hospitals. To solve funding challenges and high turnover rates, report author Dr. Terry Wallace, a senior scholar at the Public Policy Foundation, said all hospital operations could be transferred to a Hospital Facilities Authority.

A nine-member board of managers would govern the authority, with leaders appointed in three-year staggered terms by the governor, according to the report, cited by The Inter-Mountain. The board would be tasked with researching privatization options for the hospitals or specific services, according to the report.

Currently, the Office of Health Facilities at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources manages the entities.

"Right now, many of our facilities are operating well below what their occupancy capacity is," Republican state Sen. Greg Boso, whose committee will review the report — which he supports — during the next legislation, told The Inter-Mountain. "As an effect of that, we're less efficient with the operation of those facilities, which costs us additional dollars. We're not able to care for the number of people we could in the various communities."

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