Center Tells Commission Their Side
At the Wetzel County Commission meeting held Tuesday Chanda Spragg, community relations manager at Sun Healthcare Group, met with the county commission to address the recent negative media campaign targeting New Martinsville Care and Rehabilitation Center.
The McHugh Fuller Law Group has been running what she called misleading advertisements on television and in newspapers in the Ohio Valley which she said falsely name New Martinsville Care and Rehabilitation in connection with so-called cited claims of abuse and neglect.
However, Spragg stated the company is taking the higher ground in the situation and will not run rebuttal advertisements. Instead the company hopes the community will dismiss the negative campaign and recognize New Martinsville Care and Rehabilitation as the caring, professional organization that it is.
First, Spragg stressed the name of their organization is the New Martinsville Care and Rehabilitation Center, which has been in operation under that name for the past three years. The campaign ads have been falsely advertising the business under the name: New Martinsville Health Care Center, which was the nursing home’s former name from years ago. The alleged incidents are from the past when the center was under different management.
Second, Spragg cited just how committed the organization was to the community and to its patients. In addition to being very active in the community, New Martinsville Care and Rehabilitation Center takes the utmost pride and care in providing housing and rehabilitation services to patients. “We know we provide quality care,” said Spragg. “We feel proud of the services we offer.” Spragg explained the business undergoes yearly inspections from the government and the results of those inspections are always on public record. She further stated that, unlike what the McHugh Fuller Law Group claims, New Martinsville Care and Rehabilitation Center staffs “above and beyond the state’s minimum guidelines.”
While New Martinsville Care and Rehabilitation Center is the only Sun Healthcare Group company targeted, Spragg noted there has been a recent trend of law firms attacking nursing home and care facilities. She stated media campaigns of this kind are presently evident not only in the Ohio Valley, but in other parts of the state as well.
The commission expressed how unfortunate the situation was and hoped the community would recognize the center’s commitment and professionalism to its patients, and understand the advertisements being run by McHugh Fuller Law Group are not based on fact.
In other matters, Theresa Hoskins met with the county commission regarding bookkeeping matters for the Title V adolescent health grant which was last addressed to the commission in December. The grant is intended to pay for Hoskins to be an educator with adolescent health programs such as bullying, internet safety, gay/lesbian, AIDS, teen pregnancy, and other sexual issues.
Hoskins has performed this function for four years and has been in all the county high schools. She has also done several programs with church youth groups. The funding was unfortunately cut last year, however the funding is now available to allow Hoskins to continue her work in the schools. Present with Hoskins was State Director Patty McGrew, who stated a fiscal agent is required to be able to pay Hoskins for her services.
The commission agreed to be named Hoskins’ fiscal agent in the matter and will hire her as an independent contractor throughout the grant cycle. Commissioner Scott Lemley spoke on behalf of the entire commission in thanking Hoskins for “taking the initiative to going into the high schools and educating our youth.”
Lastly, Hoskins noted that Child Abuse Prevention Month is nearing. She outlined that Pinwheels for Prevention, a child abuse awareness display, will take place April 1 as Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers will display a pinwheel for each investigated case of child abuse in Wetzel County for the year in front of the courthouse. Also, April 29 is Children’s Memorial Flag Day, however the flag will be raised in early April and be displayed all month long. The commission stated they would plan to raise the flag and make a proclamation at the April 5 commission meeting.
Lastly, a public hearing was held at the county commission meeting for Wetzel County Public Service District No. 1 regarding the Small Cities Block Grant for the Phase IV waterline extension project.
Scott Hicks of the Belomar Regional Council explained the grant application, which is due next week, was complete except for a signature from the commission. With that said the commission adopted a resolution to authorize President Don Mason to sign the grant application.
This grant is hoped to cover the $1.3 million needed for the construction phase of the project. While Hicks has a good feeling about the outcome of the grant, he did state it will be up to eight months before grants are awarded.
The Phase IV project will extend water to 94 households and eliminate a documented health situation in the areas along Chiselfinger Ridge, State Run Road, Eight Mile Ridge, and Richwood Run in the Jacksonburg area of the county.