SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va.-Some 65% of West Virginia hospitals offer wellness programs to their communities, according to a report on hospital community benefits compiled by the West Virginia Hospital Association. The survey is one of a growing number of reports by hospital organizations that attempt to demonstrate their members' non-financial contributions to their communities in exchange for their exemptions from income and property taxes. The report is based on a survey of 34 of the association's 63 institutional members. Among the survey's other findings: 80% of the hospitals offer community health screenings, 71% offer free meeting rooms for community groups, and 62% offer health education outreach programs.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.-Erlanger Medical Center and Memorial Hospital have entered into a joint venture to build a new $8.6 million women's hospital on Erlanger's east medical campus. However, the new 28-bed hospital will be a separate not-for-profit corporation with its own governing board. The total square footage for the project hasn't been determined. Of the 28 beds, 16 will be labor-delivery-recovery-postpartum rooms, and the balance will be general medical-surgical beds. After final construction plans are approved by both hospitals, executives will seek certificate-of-need approval from the state. Construction is expected to begin this fall, with opening in late 1995.
ATLANTA-The state is moving 63 mildly retarded people, which it hospitalized because it had nowhere else to put them, into homes of their own in a few weeks. The moves are possible because the General Assembly last year passed a bill making more patients in state hospitals eligible for Medicaid. Then the Department of Human Resources switched money in its budget from hospitalization to community placement. Medicaid will pay for the housing, and the state will pay to have trained staffers to assist the 63 people in everyday tasks, such as grocery shopping. In some cases, the staffers will live with the former patients. The cost of letting a mildly retarded person live in the community will run from $120 to $220 a day per person, compared with $220 per day for hospitalization, said DHR spokeswoman Barbara Joye. Georgia has about 2,000 patients at two state mental hospitals and at special units for the mentally retarded in four other hospitals.-Associated Press