September 06, 2023 – Recently, Congressman Hal Rogers sat down with ARH President and CEO Hollie Phillips, ARH system and hospital-level leaders to listen to and discuss healthcare and more in the 5th District.
Rogers began the meeting by thanking ARH for the response to the 2022 flood.
ARH President and CEO Hollie Phillips replied, “That’s the least we could do. Until the region is rebuilt and back on its feet, we will continue to do everything in our power to help.”
The discussion on some of the impacts of the flooding naturally led to an increase in telehealth practices for patients. Rogers has been a huge proponent of the expansion of broadband. Montie Hodge, Chief Information Officer, said “We’re pleased to see broadband getting better across eastern Kentucky. For example, Home Health Services, through technology, can bring a specialist to a patient. Many more now have access, but it’s not completed yet.” Hodge also gave examples of a specialist being able virtually to be at the bedside of a patient or in an exam room at a clinic.
Not only has broadband expansion helped with telehealth, but also the Home Program. According to Chief Medical Officer Maria Braman, broadband services allowed ARH to be part of a pilot study with Harvard University, in which patients were treated at home as if they were in the hospital. Monitors that provided constant data were a requirement and broadband allowed this to happen. Dr. Braman said patient satisfaction with the program was at 100%.
The importance of partnerships between the medical community and the education community was an important topic. From being the first healthcare facility in Kentucky to start a nurse extern program to a recent partnership with Kentucky Health Corps, ARH is committed to action regarding partnerships with educational organizations. It was mentioned that not only at the postsecondary level but also from Kindergarten through high school, ARH sees the importance of working with these educators and students to build interest and hopefully have future employees come from this.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH), is a not-for-profit health system operating 14 hospitals in Barbourville, Hazard, Harlan, Hyden, Martin, McDowell, Middlesboro, Paintsville, Prestonsburg, West Liberty, Whitesburg, and South Williamson in Kentucky and Beckley and Hinton in West Virginia, as well as multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, home medical equipment stores and retail pharmacies. ARH employs more than 6,500 people with an annual payroll and benefits of $330 million generated into our local economies. ARH also has a network of more than 600 active and courtesy medical staff members. ARH is the largest provider of care and the single largest employer in southeastern Kentucky and the third-largest private employer in southern West Virginia.