The two acute-care hospitals in Wheeling, W.Va., said they have formed a joint trauma program, giving West Virginia its second Level II trauma center. Starting tomorrow, 276-bed Wheeling Hospital will treat trauma patients on odd-numbered days and 369-bed Ohio Valley Medical Center will treat them on even-numbered days. A West Virginia tort reform law approved earlier this year allows the joint program to receive provisional status from the state immediately, Ohio Valley spokesman Howard Gamble said. After a year, the program can receive permanent status. The law's $500,000 cap on damages for trauma centers also was key to the program, Gamble said. -- by Vince Galloro
W.Va. hospitals team up on new trauma program
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