Emergency Services

Open 24/7



150 Duncan Road

Buckeye, West Virginia 24924

Category: News



Chris Reece, FNP, is ready to welcome new and returning patients to the PMH Rural Health Clinic.

BUCKEYE, WV – The Rural Health Clinic at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital is proud to announce the recent addition of Chris Reece to their medical staff. Chris is a Family Nurse Practitioner and received a Master’s of Science Degree from Chamberlain University College of Nursing in Downers Grove, Illinois in 2019. He received his undergraduate degrees in nursing from Davis and Elkins College and the University of Texas-Arlington.

Chris is already a familiar face around PMH. He completed 359 hours of on hands-experience in his practicum under the supervision of Dr. Thorne and Donna Lidel-Burley, FNP. Chris has also worked in the PMH Emergency Department on both a part time and full time basis as a Registered Nurse. He is a member of the Snowshoe Mountain Ski Patrol and Rapid Response Team.

Chris is married and he and his family live in Marlinton. He mostly recently finished a 6 week stint working in internal medicine in the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak in New York City.

Chris is excited about joining the RHC staff and getting to know his new patients. Chris will be seeing a continuum of ages consistent with family practice including adult, geriatric, and women’s health. “I look forward to serving the community by improving healthcare and the healthcare needs of those in Pocahontas County,” he says.

The RHC offers a full range of medical services including care for illness and chronic disease management, well child checks, immunizations, and physical examinations, in addition to women’s and children’s health services.

The PMH Rural Health Clinic is open to all and located inside the hospital, which allows patients access to lab and x-ray services without having to go through the emergency department. You may make an appointment with Chris or one of our other providers by calling 304-799-6200. Walk-ins are also welcome. The clinic is open Sunday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Registration for the clinic is at the front desk of the hospital.

Health Fairs and Youth Health Fair Update

In March, we made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s community Health Fairs, with hopes to reschedule later in the Spring or Summer. Unfortunately, as we now approach June, we are still unable to reschedule these important events due to crowd size and event restrictions, social distancing requirements, and the uncertainty of just where we are with the COVID-19 outbreak within our state.

This means that our Youth Health Fair, normally held in June, will also have to be cancelled. Please understand this is hard news for us to share; especially as we begin to see businesses opening back up and we all yearn for a sense of normalcy. We know how important these events are to our county, but we must do our part to keep our communities and our staff safe.

The same staff that bring the Health Fairs to our towns around the county are the ones that take care of you in our hospital and clinic. We still hope that we will be able to reschedule our Health Fairs for late summer or fall, but at this time we are unable to say that with any certainty of when.

Please stay safe and healthy!

Health Fairs and Youth Health Fair Update


BUCKEYE, WV – Pocahontas Memorial Hospital is pleased to announce that Richard R. Durham, DO, FCCP, a Pulmonary Specialist, is joining Pocahontas Memorial Hospital on July 1, 2020.  Dr. Durham will be leading a brand new Pulmonary Clinic to be constructed on the hospital site.

Dr. Durham received his medical degree from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in 1988.  He also completed an Internal Medicine Program at the University of Virginia.  Dr. Durham has the distinction of being the second Osteopathic Physician to complete this program and was the first Osteopathic Physician to complete a Fellowship in Pulmonary Medicine, sponsored by UVA.

Dr. Durham is a native of Hurricane, West Virginia; while his wife is a native of Lewisburg.  After working several years in Kinston, North Carolina; Lewisburg; and Salem, Virginia, Dr. Durham returned to Lewisburg once again to practice Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine.

Dr. Durham is looking forward to starting his new practice at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital and sees it as a good fit. “It comforts me to be able to help patients with pulmonary and sleep issues.  PMH has in place the basic tools that are needed to care for the patients I typically see,” he says.

Dr. Durham will diagnose and provide treatment for patients with lung disease and airway disorders such as COPD, asthma, chronic lung infections, respiratory failure and lung cancer. In addition, he will provide treatment for patients with sleep disorders.

“We feel extremely fortunate to have Dr. Durham join our PMH family in July.  Our Community Health Needs Assessment identified the need for access to care for specialty clinics like pulmonology.  We are excited to expand our out-patient pulmonology services and meet the needs of our residents in Pocahontas County,” says Mary Beth Barr, Chief Executive Officer at PMH.

For information or scheduling, please contact us at 304-799-7400 extension 1118.

Pocahontas Memorial Hospital is a Critical Access Hospital located in Buckeye, West Virginia with a diverse range of services including a federally designated Rural Health Clinic, Behavioral Health Clinic, and an off-site Rehabilitation services.


April 23, 2020

Story by Tim Walker

We are all grateful that, so far, the virus causing Corona virus Disease has not been found in Pocahontas County. West Virginia so far has fared better then most states, and we all are optimistic that Governor Justice may soon begin to slowly open the state. Even so, as Dr. John Ioannidis Professor of Epidemiology at Stanford University has recently pointed out -this virus can still have some late surprises.

So, in this final portion of our interview with Mary Beth Barr, the CEO of Pocahontas Memorial Hospital, we learn the preparations PMH has made, just in case we should see one of those late surprises here.

Mary Beth, what if, God forbid, PMH were to suddenly receive a number of COVID-19 patients -is the hospital prepared to handle that?

“We are prepared” Barr answered. “We have designated certain areas of the hospital as the sick areas. We have recognized that we needed negative air pressure rooms -we only had one. We have two or three units that can make our rooms negative air pressure. We do have a few ventilators here that if we had to make a mini-ICU – Intensive Care Unit. We have nurses who are trained in ICU and are ALS -Advanced Life Support -certified that could handle those patients if we were unable to transfer the very sick ones out. So, we are prepared.”

“We’ve been very fortunate so far that Pocahontas County has not had a positive report” Barr added. “And it looks like things are peaking in West Virginia as predicted, and hopefully things will flatten out by the end of the month and maybe we can get back to business as before.”

Does PMH have adequate numbers of personal protection equipment (PPE), like masks, gloves and gowns?

“Yes, we are keeping a diligent watch on those supplies” Barr replied. “Each employee gets one mask per day. And of course, more if that mask becomes soiled or contaminated. We have had the community, who has just responded in so many ways, supply us with cloth masks that we use to cover up our paper masks and then those are washed daily. Our Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, Jason Scotchie, is an RN and a Paramedic who has done a great job. We’ve received some extra equipment from the state. And right now we have enough supplies that would get us through the next several weeks if nothing changes in our usage.”

Thank you, Mary Beth, -is there anything else you would like to say to our listeners?

“No, I just have to give kudos to both our medical staff and our employees here who have been so dedicated and engaged” Barr said. “They are putting their work in front of their families. I do a daily update here thanking them every day (and) encouraging them to change clothes before they leaver the hospital, or change as soon as they get home to protect their families, because they really are giving up a lot by coming to work every day. They are not complaining. They are waiting and ready, and we hope we really don’t get that influx of very sick patients, but we’re here to serve and take care of our community, and we are so blessed to have this hospital and to have the engaged employees that truly-truly care. And kudos to our Board members who have been very engaged every day, but especially during this crisis. They’ve called, they’ve checked on us. We’ve had a lot of little meetings in between to let them know, and I send them the updates as well. So, everyone is ready and waiting. And, again, I would like to thank the community for their support of our employees during this crisis.”

Hopefully this four-part interview has helped clarify for our listeners the present status of Pocahontas Memorial Hospital, both its financial situation and its preparedness to serve the community.




Continuing our multipart interview with the CEO of Pocahontas Memorial Hospital, Mary Beth Barr. she talks about solutions PMH has to shore up the financial challenges that she described in the previous portion of this interview.

“We did go for a line-of-credit, and we were successful in getting a half a million dollars line of credit available to us if needed” said Barr. “We’ve also received accelerated Medicare payments. This is a type of loan where Medicare -based on the amount of payments they made to us I think last July through December- has sent money ahead of time in an accelerated payment form for us to utilize. This is considered a loan, and it will be repaid. So far we’ve received 1.6 million dollars from an accelerated Medicare payment program. We’re going to tuck that back and hope we don’t have to touch it, but it is there if we need it, because that will have to be repaid.”

The American Hospital Association provided a bill for all hospitals to receive stimulus money” added Barr. “It was based on a formula, I think they originally requested twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) per bed, of course, we did not receive that. But we received just around three hundred and sixty thousand dollars ($360,000.) And that does NOT need to be repaid.”

“Our out-patient revenues are still declining due to this virus” Barr said. “We’re really only getting very sick people to the hospital, but good news is that our in-patient census has remained steady. And our Swing-Bed program has remained steady. And that is bringing in some revenue to add to these other revenue sources.”

“Other funding sources that we have reviewed and are going after are FEMA grants -and those do apply to us, being a local government entity. Also, there is a new grant that is not defined yet, it’s called the Public Health and Emergency Social Services Emergency Fund. That also applies to all public funded hospitals and we are eligible for that, so as soon as we get more information, we will seek that funding.  And then there is a rural health grant that’s called (the) Small hospital Improvement Grant and the initials are S.H.I.P. That is a grant that we are eligible for and we are going to apply for that. We can receive up to ninety-thousand dollars ($90,000) in that grant to assist us with any costs, especially with equipment, etc. related to the COVID-19 virus. Now, the big one is through the Small Business Association – the Pay check Protection Program. And, unfortunately, because we are county-owned, we are not eligible yet for that program. They only recognize small businesses -for profit and non-profit- with less then five-hundred beds, however, no governmental businesses can apply.  The (U.S.) Senate and the House are reviewing this, and are afraid they may have to do something legislatively. I have contacted both Senator Manchin’s and Senator Capito’s offices and discussed this. I’ve been on the phone with our West Virginia Hospital Association and our American hospital Association also is very much aware of this. I think it was a doughnut-hole that wasn’t intended to happen, but there are several hospitals in the U.S, that will not receive this stimulus unless there is something done legislatively. There are about six-hundred (600) rural hospitals that are government owned currently, and PMH is one of those. So, we are going to keep our eye on that. We have prepared our application, and have it ready to go, once we get notification that we are eligible. “

“So, we feel like our finances are pretty stable at this time, and we are hoping that this month will be the end of our decline in our out-patient, but time will tell.”

Since this interview, Governor Justice announced at his April 20th press conference that on April 27th, he will be lifting the elective procedures ban for hospitals which meet conditions which he did not specify. Hopefully, PMH will meet those conditions, which could fix their out-patient revenue declines.

Be sure to listen for the third part of this interview, in which Barr talks about PMH’s decision to hire Doctor Durham, who is currently in practice as a Pomologist in Greenbrier County. She also describes PMH’s telemedicine program, which is so important during this viral emergency.

View original article here.



Since last fall, we have been covering Pocahontas Memorial Hospital’s interactions with the County Commission. First there was PMH’s efforts to secure a very large expansion loan to increase elective outpatient services. Then, there was both an emergency commission meeting and a special meeting to discuss financial issues PMH was experiencing because of the COVID 19 virus emergency.

Maty Beth Barr, PMH’s Chief Executive Officer, reached out to us in the spirit of transparency to inform the public about the hospital’s financial situation; its efforts to obtain financial assistance from additional lines of credit and government grants. And to explain just how prepared PMH is to handle a virus outbreak here if one should occur. In this multi-part series, Mary Beth will address these things and more.

Mary Beth, can you give us some background on the financial situation at PMH?

“Most small and rural hospitals are the sole providers for the health needs in their community” said Barr. “Because we are in small communities, we face a small volume of patients that we serve. Pocahontas County is typical of having large county square footage, but very small population. And we’ve noticed declining population here in the county as well as the patients that we serve fall in the category of Medicare and Medicaid. Being a critical access hospital, we are paid on cost-based reimbursement. So, in West Virginia, Medicaid also pays us that way. What that means is that we receive payment based on the actual cost, nothing above the cost that it takes to take care of patients, So, the majority of our funding comes from payers like Medicare and Medicaid, and we have to make up the difference with our private paid insurance companies or self-insured patients. So, it’s so difficult when you have such a small volume to make up that difference. And that’s why it’s very difficult for hospitals like Pocahontas Memorial to have a positive operating margin. Of course, that’s always our goal when we set our budgets and try to obtain a positive operating margin each year. But it has been very difficult, and it is my understanding is that the hospital has had a history of this difficulty throughout its entire lifespan here, which has been over a hundred years. And it is basically based on the fact that there is so little volume of patients that we serve and the way we’re paid.”

“We were already pretty vulnerable before this Corona virus hit” Barr continued. “We had a good year last year, in 2019, and had a huge turn around with an actual operating profit of a half a million dollars, and started out this fiscal year a little slower. And were coming out of a little bit of a hole in our finances. The first six months were very slow, but January and February -which is very typical for us because of tourism- we had two very robust months, and started out March looking for another good month, and then, lo and behold, the Corona Virus hit.”

“So, that was the main reason we went to the County Commission, upon the direction of our Board of Trustee members” Barr said. “Because we are county-owned, we wanted to be transparent and share with the County Commission that we were concerned about our financial stability over the next sixty to ninety days. We had discussed with the Board and were looking to be proactive to go out for a line of credit. At that time we were not sure what the Federal Government was going to do as a stimulus for hospitals, so we just wanted to inform the county that we may need to look to them for some financial backing, even if it was in the form of a loan that we could repay once we climbed out of this crisis. So that in a nutshell is why we had the special meeting with the County Commission.”

In the next part of this series, Barr explains the remedies the hospital have put in place which are solving these financial challenges without requiring intervention by the county commission at this time.

View original article here.

Rural hospitals are “bleeding cash” and shut out of government’s coronavirus loan program

Rural hospitals are “bleeding cash” and shut out of government’s coronavirus loan program

The money was meant to be a game changer, a lifeline to keep Fillmore County Hospital in Geneva, Nebraska humming even as the coronavirus pandemic caused patient volume and revenue to drop 70%. On April 4, the hospital’s CEO Chris Nichols learned his bank had approved a $2.1 million loan through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. Two days later, the SBA told Nichols’ bank the hospital was ineligible.

“It’s survival money,” Nichols told CBS News. Without the funding, he said it would be difficult to operate “beyond a couple of months.”

With 190 employees, 20 acute care beds and a 10-bed geriatric inpatient behavioral health unit, the hospital is the medical and economic lifeblood of the county.

And it is one of dozens of rural hospitals shut out of the $349 billion set aside by Congress in its new stimulus program.

“Rural hospitals were already incredibly vulnerable heading into this crisis,” said Megan Elehwany, vice president of government and affairs for the National Rural Heath Association, which lobbies for rural hospitals across the country. “They were bleeding cash. If they don’t get this money, now you’re just putting the nail in the coffin.”

Elehwany said about a third of rural hospitals have been rejected for PPP loans. That’s because officially, they are owned by a local government, making them ineligible for a loan under current SBA rules. Still, she said, most of these rural hospitals currently receive tiny amounts of public funding.

Take the 25-bed Pocahontas Memorial Hospital in Buckeye, West Virginia, which also was deemed ineligible for a loan by the SBA. The hospital receives about $75,000 per year from county hospitality fees. CEO Mary Beth Barr said it’s the equivalent of one to two days of operating costs.
“We were counting on that PPP money to get us through the next 90 days,” said Barr. “We have the application ready to go, but we’ve been told by our local bank we’re not eligible.”

Under the CARES Act, government-owned entities are not eligible for PPP relief.

“We are legally obligated to follow regulation,” an SBA spokesperson told CBS News.

The financial calculus facing rural hospitals is daunting. Most rely on insurance reimbursements from elective surgeries and outpatient services like radiology and lab work simply to break even. Most states have placed limits on those procedures, and as a result, revenue has dropped off a cliff. For Pocahontas, those reimbursements usually account for about 80% of the hospital’s revenue, Barr said.

She said the hospital has yet to lay off staff, but it may come to that if it doesn’t get additional funding in the next three or four weeks.

On Friday, Barr received a call from West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s office. A staffer told her only with a legislative fix could the SBA lend to her and that such action may still take a few weeks. A spokesperson for Senator Manchin said they are pushing for that legislative fix in the next round of PPP funding. “This should be a bipartisan issue,” the spokesperson said.

The PPP wasn’t the only money for healthcare providers in the CARES Act stimulus package. The Department of Health and Human Services allocated $100 billion, with the first $30 billion distributed last week, to all providers who care for Medicare patients.

Elehwany said rural hospitals generally received between $500,000 to $1 million, enough to stabilize them for about one to two weeks.

Fillmore County Hospital has yet to treat any COVID-19 patients, but a surge of cases is expected to hit Nebraska in late April or early May, Nichols said. And for now, the initial $349 billion PPP fund is out of money, though Congress is considering adding to it.

Visit the original article here

New Procedures Regarding Coronavirus

In light of the unfolding situation across the nation in regard to the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Pocahontas Memorial Hospital will be implementing some new procedures in the registration/presenting process.

Patients and visitors could be isolated if they have had symptoms such as a cough, fever and shortness of breath, or been exposed to a person who has suspected coronavirus.

In addition, effective today and until further notice, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital will implement its Temporary Patient Visitation Policy due to potential exposure to coronaviruses currently sweeping the nation. PMH is working closely with the Pocahontas County Health Department and joins other healthcare entities in our area to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and staff. The following protocols will be in place and we respectfully request your cooperation:

  • No visitors with flu-like illness, fever, or cough
  • No visitors under age 18
  • Only immediate family or partner will be allowed to see patient

These restrictions are part of an effort to keep our hospital environment as healthy as possible for our patients. The community will be notified when we lift this temporary restriction.

New Procedures Regarding Coronavirus
PMH to Open Behavioral Health Clinic

PMH to Open Behavioral Health Clinic

You have visited multiple medical professionals with no relief for your symptoms: headache or abdominal pain, insomnia, chronic fatigue, unexplained weight loss or gain. Often the only medical professional left to visit is a psychiatrist, but these symptoms are not all in your head. They are very real.

Reconsider visiting a mental health professional if you’ve had long term, unexplained symptoms. The reason is that depression or anxiety could actually be the explanation. Often people find relief from chronic, unexplained physical complaints by treating underlying conditions such as depression or anxiety, conditions that are historically overlooked and undertreated.

The mind-body connection is well established, but mental health treatment still suffers from stigma and misconception. The belief that one can just “snap out” of depression with a tug of the bootstraps is widely held, but incorrect. Depression and anxiety are medical conditions like diabetes. And like diabetes, it cannot be treated by a decision to just snap out of it.

In many cases, however, treating underlying depression or anxiety brings rapid relief of long-suffered aches and pains.

Depression and anxiety are very common in older adults, but not commonly diagnosed or treated. Research shows that the majority of older adults and their loved ones accept their symptoms of depression as a consequence of the many losses experienced as people age: retirement, loss of social contact and driving privileges, loss of friends, loss of spouse or other loved ones, loss of income. There also remains a strong stigma attached to mental health treatment that prevents many patients from seeking treatment, even when they know they need help.  It is particularly important for older patients or their families to recognize that depression is not normal at any age, and it is not just an acceptable fact of growing older.

Until recently, convenient access to this kind of treatment has not always been easily available. Now residents of Pocahontas County and surrounding areas can benefit from treatment under the care of a board-certified psychiatrist through Pocahontas Memorial Hospital’s soon to open Behavioral Health Clinic, an outpatient mental health service specifically for older adults. 

The program will begin January 2, 2020 and operate Monday through Friday. The clinic will be located in the former medical office of Dr. Soriano on Duncan Road.  Individuals may self-refer or their primary care or other provider can refer them by contacting the clinic.  Each referred individual will receive a free assessment from the program prior to beginning treatment, which will determine if they would benefit from treatment.

Angela Lester, a familiar face in the mental health field in Pocahontas County, has been selected as the Program Director for the new clinic and is excited to bring these needed services to the area.  She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with nearly 30 years of experience working in the behavioral health, substance abuse, geriatric, and medical fields.

“Once admitted to the program, patients participate in up to three group therapy sessions a day with physician management of their mental health medications, and may receive individual and/or family counseling as needed,” says Lester. The program coordinates medication management, therapy, and discharge planning with other medical providers as needed and appropriate. Participants may initially come daily, depending on their needs, with participation tapering off to fewer visits as their symptoms subside. The average individual generally spends an average of about 12 to 16 weeks in the program, which is typically covered by medical insurance.

The “other expense” of their personal time is also an investment toward reducing overall medical costs. Persons with untreated mental health conditions like depression average 50% higher overall medical expenses.

There are many benefits of treatment, and with today’s convenient access to it, there are hundreds of potential patients in the community who would otherwise fail to get the help they need.  For more information, contact the Behavioral Health Program Director Angela Lester at 304-799-7400 or arlester@pmhwv.org.

PMH and IGA Celebrate Diabetes Day

To celebrate National Diabetes Awareness Day Month, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital teamed with the Pocahontas IGA to host diabetes friendly “tasting stations” around the store last Tuesday. PMH staff manned the stations, offering free samples, recipes, and healthy tips. Recipes revolved around traditional Thanksgiving foods with a slightly more healthy twist. Stations included cranberry spinach salad in the produce section, pumpkin pie parfaits in the dairy section, orange roasted turkey in the meat section, and a very low carb cauliflower stuffing in the deli area.

The day was a fun event to raise awareness of diabetes and share a healthier way of cooking. Many shoppers immediately began looking for ingredients to prepare the recipes and commented that they would not need to cook dinner after they got home because they were having so much fun visiting the different stations. The day was possible through the work and collaboration of PMH and IGA, but was funded by a grant from the Snowshoe Foundation.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Pocahontas County has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the state with almost 11% of our population aged 20 or older being told by a doctor that they have diabetes. Not included in this are the many folks who are at risk for diabetes or have pre diabetes or simply do not know that they have diabetes. Almost 26 million people in the United States have diabetes and it is estimated that as many as one in every three adults will have the disease by the year 2050.

PMH hosts a Diabetes Support Group on the 3rd Tuesday of each month. Join us on Tuesday, January 21 for our next meeting at 6:30pm. Meetings are a time of education and fellowship. For more information about the Support Group or diabetes education at PMH, contact Terry Wagner at 304-799-7400. You may also visit our website at www.pmhwv.org/pmhdiabetes to learn more about the many opportunities we offer for education and support.

PMH and IGA Celebrate Diabetes Day