WVU in the News: Supporting Marsh

One of West Virginia’s best-known doctors has been nominated to serve on a national health board.

WVU Health Sciences Chancellor and Executive Dean and state Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh could soon become a member of the National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality (NACHRQ). The panel offers guidance across the health care system to promote better quality of care while controlling costs and increasing access.

"Im so grateful to all of our congressional delegation who signed a letter of support and to Dr. Jay Cole who is the person who reached out and asked if I would be willing to be nominated,” Marsh told MetroNews. 

The delegation including U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito and U.S. House members David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Carol Miller, were on a nomination letter to Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Director Dr. Robert Valdez last week.

“As members of West Virginia’s Congressional Delegation, we write in strong support of Dr. Clay Marsh’s nomination to the National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality (NACHRQ),” the lawmakers said in part. “Dr. Marsh knows well the healthcare problems faced in the Appalachian region, which extends through parts of 13 states stretching from Mississippi to New York and is home to 26 million people.”

Marsh said there are many things learned from the pandemic response that will be helpful if he is appointed. He would bring crisis management as well as 35 years of experience as a physician, researcher, professor and administrator.

“That team with the leadership that we had is potentially a vehicle we can use to further improve the health metrics and well-being of our population which was our initial mission,” Marsh said.

If appointed, Marsh would be part of a 21-member panel helping institutions as they serve the country in one of the most polarizing and evolving times in history. He said considering outside factors is essential when developing care strategies to improve outcomes and quality of life.

“Helping people step up, not rescuing them but helping them,” Marsh said. “Because this is a complex environment we know food insecurity is a big issue, housing insecurity is a big issue, the lack of jobs, training and education.”

Marsh said he understands the challenges in delivering care to remote areas. Those challenges have resulted in development of telemedicine, smaller clinics offering more services in rural areas with access to the level of care nearby.

“Rural America, Appalachia is different,” Dr. Marsh said. “Not only do we have low population centers, but we have very challenging topography and geography.”

The “hub and spoke” concept of a small format hospital recently opened in White Hall and proposed in Charles Pointe in Harrison County is another concept that could benefit other rural areas in the country. The concept places a small hospital in a rural area, but close enough to access an advanced care facility and shows promise in controlling costs and delivering high quality care.

“To provide the capability to handle any complex problem that a person in West Virginia- adult or child, man or woman may have and enable them to stay in the state to get excellent health care.”

Those appointed to the council serve three-year terms.