CAMC is above average when it comes to retaining medical residents

Charleston Area Medical Center is doing a good job of retaining residents or drawing them back to the area following out-of-state fellowships, said Sharon Hall, president of the CAMC Health Education Research Institute.

Hall presented an annual report at Wednesday morning's meeting of the CAMC Board of Trustees.

“Upon graduation, on average, 33 percent enter practice in West Virginia and many come back after fellowships in other states,” she said.

Graduates leave the state in order to find slots to pursue further training in their specialties because there may not be an adequate number of opportunities to do so here.

“Forty-nine percent of our staff were trained in the residency program here,” she said. “CAMC is probably above average in retaining residents or bringing them back to the area. They have a good learning and training experience here. Every student is a prospective employee.”

Of 171 students now in the program, 156 are medical students and the remainder are in pharmacy and psychology programs. Match week was recently held when it was determined where students may go regarding their respective specialties.

In the match, CAMC offered 49 positions.

Meanwhile, Ed Welch, who heads the quality committee, reported the challenge of eliminating patient falls.

Patients may believe they are strong enough to get out of bed on their own when they fall. Addressing the problem is challenging because using more restraints is not a desired option, he said.

“It's hard to get your head around that one,” Welch said.

He said another issue is employee back injuries when staff try to lift patients.

However, the overall environment of care and safety is good, he said. “We are being conscientious.”

In another matter, the topic of using robotic surgery is being reviewed as officials measure the cost and outcome of the procedure.

Gynecologist Gina Busch cautioned that depending upon the type of surgery that study could be comparing apples and oranges.

Larry Hudson, chief financial officer, said revenue was down in January due to the water crisis and a decline in patient admissions. Admissions were down 5 percent overall, and 18 percent at Women and Children's. He said part of that could be because children were out of school a good part of January and therefore not spreading illnesses.

It was reported that cash flow is down $2 million to date this year, but they system has been able to recoup much of that loss due to the Teays Valley merger and the expansion of Medicaid.

Three employees were recognized as recipients of the “Heart and Soul” award for their dedication.

Sherri Keffer, who works on 4 South at Memorial Hospital, and Kevin Parker, a pharmacist at Memorial, have worked together to help patients understand medications and be properly educated on their use upon being discharged.

Sharon Anderson, who works in the cafeteria at Memorial, was recognized for getting to know her customers and addressing their special dietary needs.

Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at or 304-348-1246.

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