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Cummings Appointed to W.Va. Health Care Authority

Posted 07/20/17

Photo for Cummings Appointed to W.Va. Health Care Authority

The Rev. Darrell Cummings of Wheeling was named Wednesday as a member of the newly reconstituted West Virginia Health Care Authority.

Gov. Jim Justice appointed Cummings to a five-year term on the board, effective immediately and continuing through June 30, 2023. Active as a community leader, Cummings is pastor of Bethlehem Apostolic Church in Wheeling and Shiloh Apostolic Faith Assembly in Weirton.

Circuit Judge James Mazzone administered the oath of office to Cummings on Wednesday. Cummings affirmed his commitment to uphold the responsibilities of the authority.

The new board member said of the appointment, “I’m excited and humbled and honored and a little scared.”

Mazzone said Justice made a fine selection in choosing Cummings. The judge lauded the minister’s dedicated service to the community.

Noting the continuing changes to health care in the state and locally, Cummings said he wants the authority “to hear our voices from our community to see what they would like to see” in the health care field. He predicted that serving on the state board will be “challenging, but worth it.”

Cummings served on the board of directors of Ohio Valley Medical Center for about 10 years, until the hospital’s sale to Alecto Healthcare Services of Irvine, Calif. Alecto completed its acquisition of OVMC and East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry from Ohio Valley Health Services and Education Corp. on May 31.

Referring to the hospitals’ purchase, Cummings said, “We pray and believe that we came to a great outcome for the success of OVMC and EORH.”

He said his experience with the hospital’s board might have been part of Justice’s decision to select him for the health care authority. Cummings said he wants the authority “to understand the plight of a local hospital.”

On Wednesday, Justice also appointed Charlene M. Ferrell of Huntington, Robert J. Gray of South Charleston, Samuel G. Kapourales of Williamson and Martha Yeager Walker of Charleston to five-year terms on the health care authority. Walker will serve as chair of the board.

“These seasoned individuals make a strong and experienced team as the newly functioning Health Care Authority Board,” Justice said. “Each has knowledge in the health care industry to help make smart and informed decisions regarding the health and well-being of our citizens.”

House Bill 2459, passed by the West Virginia Legislature and signed into law by Justice in April, reconstituted the health care authority to fall under the supervision of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

The legislation also created an exemption from the certificate of need requirement for the purchase of a financially distressed hospital. OVMC filed a declaration of financial distress to expedite its sale to Alecto.

The purpose of the West Virginia Health Care Authority is to protect the health and well-being of residents “by guarding against unreasonable loss of economic resources as well as to ensure the continuation of appropriate access to cost-effective, high-quality health care services,” Justice said.

Source: The Intelligencer. Wheeling News-Register, Linda Comins, 07/20/2017
Photo by Linda Comins Circuit Judge James Mazzone, right, administers the oath of office to the Rev. Darrell Cummings of Wheeling as a new member of the West Virginia Health Care Authority on Wednesday.