Marshall Health, Marshall University, and Mountain Health Network boards approve first step toward clinical integration

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Marshall Health, Marshall University and Mountain Health Network governing boards voted unanimously this week to authorize signing a letter of intent to form an integrated academic health system with the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Marshall University President Brad D. Smith, Marshall Health CEO Beth L. Hammers and Mountain Health Network CEO Dr. Kevin Yingling are pictured Monday, April 24 at the Marshall University Medical Center.

Guided by each of their missions, the newly integrated academic health system will consist of Mountain Health Network’s four hospitals: Cabell Huntington Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Hoops Family Children’s Hospital and Pleasant Valley Hospital; its ambulatory facilities, medical offices and employed physician practices; and Marshall Health’s physician practice and its facilities.

“Hospitals, physicians, and medical schools across the country are realizing the value of more closely aligning and harnessing the strengths of each entity to benefit the patients they serve,” stated Mountain Health Network CEO Kevin W. Yingling, RPh, MD, FACP. “The hospitals, physician practice, and medical school have a strong history of collaboration, and the time is right to formalize our relationship.”

“While our institutions have collaborated for nearly 50 years, this letter of intent marks the beginning of our evolution into a true academic health system,” said Beth L. Hammers, MBA, CEO of Marshall Health. “Our commitment to our faculty, students, patients, team members and community will remain at the forefront as we align our missions and speak with one voice to transform healthcare in West Virginia and beyond.”

Marshall University President Brad D. Smith said the formation of the integrated academic health system embodies the history the organizations share and presents a significant opportunity for the future.

"The most powerful word in our university’s rally cry – We Are Marshall – is the word ‘we,’” said Smith. “Education and research are central to the mission of the new academic health system, and this alignment will strengthen the educational experience and opportunities for research and discovery for Marshall University students. Equally important, our centers of excellence in addiction medicine, obesity, gerontology, and rural health will continue to flourish and enhance our abilities to meet the needs of our population. In combination, we will advance our role as a prosperity platform, accelerating individual success, innovative ideas and economic impact in the community and greater Appalachian Region."

The formation of an academic health system will drive the delivery of high-quality multidisciplinary care, provide a forum for training the next generation of healthcare providers and advance research opportunities aimed at improving the health and wellness of patients and communities across West Virginia and the bordering states of Kentucky and Ohio.

The letter of intent is the first step in the process that enables the three entities to proceed with the necessary due diligence and governing documents that result in a definitive agreement. All three entities are committed to completing the process by the end of the year. More information will be shared as the process continues.