For more information, visit PMHCampaign.com
For more than a century, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital has served the health and wellness needs of a five-county region, which includes Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Nicholas and Randolph counties in West Virginia, and Bath County, Virginia.
The privately-owned hospital was first established in 1906 in downtown Marlinton. The hospital has always cared for the community’s health needs – regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. However, this generous philosophy of care and compassion created financial instability, nearly forcing its closure, which would have deprived the region of desperately needed healthcare. Recognizing what it stood to lose, the community rallied around the hospital and led a fundraising campaign in Spring 1926. In addition, the citizens petitioned the county court to designate the hospital as a county facility and name it Memorial Hospital in honor of the county men and women who served in World War I.
Nevertheless, the revitalized hospital’s success fell victim to a disaster: A furnace fire in the basement destroyed the wooden structure. While, fortunately, no one was harmed, countless pieces of equipment were lost. Once again, the community heroically rebuilt the hospital and replaced all the equipment. Memorial Hospital reopened on January 16, 1932.
The hospital continued to experience the ebb and flow of business. Some years, the hospital suffered financial problems; other years, it thrived. A boost to the hospital’s bottom line came from increased business from the men who worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps work camps in the county. The CCC camps were responsible for building many of the county’s recreational facilities, including Watoga State Park. When the camps closed a decade later, the hospital took another financial hit.
By January 1946, the hospital, once again, was in trouble. The county court threatened to close the facility, but the community saved the hospital a third time. The residents approved a special tax levy to support the hospital in 1946 and 1948. The funds paid for equipment, maintenance, operating costs and hospital improvements.
The 1950s was a boom era. Business was so good the hospital had to expand. Dedicated community members supported this effort through a building fund (capital campaign), and the expansion opened in 1957. It included a new x-ray ward, maternity suites, an emergency room, laboratory and surgery center.
Over the next three decades, the county lost population, which impacted the hospital’s bottom line. By the early 1980s, the hospital again faced financial trouble and, in 1985, disaster struck again. A 500-year flood inundated the basement of the hospital, with waters reaching a foot above the first floor. The flood destroyed the hospital’s laboratory, x-ray room, emergency room, dietary area, central supply and purchasing department, respiratory therapy room and the heating system.
Neighbors once again mobilized to save the hospital. The county court and local leaders decided to move the hospital two miles away and out of the flood plain. Community members, employees and local businesses all donated to the hospital building fund. In October 1995, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital opened for business in Buckeye.
When a second 500-year flood devastated downtown Marlinton later that year, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital returned the generosity the community had shown over the years. The hospital housed residents who needed care or refuge from the flood.
Today, PMH is a licensed, 25-bed critical-care hospital with Level IV Trauma Center and provider-based Rural Health Clinic designations. Every healthy community has a thriving healthcare system. PMH is a strong health care facility that has served the region for more than a century.
Message from Walt Helmick, president of the Pocahontas County Commission and co-chair of the PMH Capital Campaign:
West Virginians take care of each other. Perhaps more than any other part of the state, Pocahontas County is known for it is loving, caring people.
This is just one of the many reasons why I love Pocahontas County and have called it home since 1970. Over my career, I have served West Virginia and its people in many roles: state delegate and senator, agriculture commissioner, school board member and county commissioner. Those were all deeply gratifying, but I am most proud of my newest position – campaign co-chair of the Building on Our Past, Building for Our Future capital campaign. Together, Rita and I will help lead Pocahontas Memorial Hospital into the next century. We hope you will join us.
For the last two years, I have served as a hospital board member. I have witnessed firsthand our medical staff’s dedication to excellence and delivering quality healthcare. I can attest to the outstanding service the hospital provides patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Through this global pandemic, we have learned that caring for our fellow citizens is more important than ever. Families across the globe have struggled with unemployment and, in some cases, illness. In a time of sickness, a patient needs to focus on recovery, not on a hospital bill. This is why in this campaign, we will also establish an endowment to provide funds for charity care, for the times a patient is unable to pay.
A healthy community has a healthy hospital system. We are fortunate, because in Pocahontas County, we have both. Let’s not take this basic human need for granted. In emergencies, seconds count. We are privileged to have a local facility to deliver healthcare, rather than driving hours over windy, mountain roads. PMH offers a plethora of basic healthcare services right here in our backyard, but also serves as a Level Four trauma center.
For the millions of people who visit Snowshoe, Cass Scenic Railroad, Beartown, Watoga State Park, or any of our other beautiful recreational sites, it’s important to know that, if it’s needed, those guests can receive world-class treatment right here in Pocahontas County and be treated as if they were right at home.
PMH is at its next milestone – an 11,000+ square-foot expansion that will provide more space to deliver more services.
The expansion will include a mammography center, physical/occupational therapy space, an expanded emergency room and more.
This project is a need for both our hospital and our community.
To complete this expansion, we must raise an additional $5 million. We can’t do it without you. Like our community has done many times before – through fire, floods and financial woes – I know we will come together to support PMH.
We look forward to partnering with you to help our local hospital grow.
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“As part of our capital campaign, our goal at this point is to raise $600K in 60 Days,” PMH Interim CEO Rebecca Hammer said. “This specific push will provide the critical matching funds PMH needs to apply for a federal grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission. Your gift will help us secure millions of additional dollars. Please donate by December 31, 2022, to help us achieve this goal.”
Checks, made payable to PMH Campaign, may be:
• mailed to Pocahontas Memorial Hospital, 150 Duncan Road, Buckeye, WV 24924
• hand delivered to the PMH Administration Office
• mailed to Greenbrier Valley Community Foundation, PO Box 1682, Lewisburg, WV 24901. GVCF is serving as our fiduciary partner in this campaign, making your gift tax deductible.
Visit the website, pmh campaign.com, to donate online.
Visit the Facebook page, Capital Campaign for PMH, to donate through the Go FundMe account.