POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Board of Education listened to proposals from two area sports medicine providers during its meeting on Tuesday evening.
The board is seeking to sign a new contract for athletic trainers and sports medicine for all three high schools. Presentations were given from representatives from Pleasant Valley Hospital (PVH) and Holzer Health System.
Currently, PVH has been working with Wahama and Hannan while Holzer has been working at Point Pleasant High School.
Connie Davis with PVH gave the board information on updates on medical services provided by the hospital.
“Over the past several years, we’ve had — as Pleasant Valley Hospital — our share of issues and challenges, just like all other small community hospitals,” Davis said. “We’ve been suffering with reduced reimbursements. … We also have had some struggles with physician recruitment. … That has led us to take a hard look at some of our services and to determine what makes sense.”
Although PVH has had to deal with these issues, Davis said they have been able to make updates for the future. These updates include reported wage increases for employees, a new MRI machine ready in June, a 3-D mammography ready in June, a new system electronic health records set to go live in the fall, new physicians, converting physician offices to a rural health clinic and investing in on-site healthcare and sports medicine.
Amy Mullins, the director of rehabilitation and sports medicine, and Gabe Roush (ATC), athletic trainer (AT), both at PVH presented the services that would be provided from the hospital if they receive the contract. These services would include full-time athletic services at all three high schools, sports medicine and health clinics and medical providers.
Roush said ATs would be at all practices and games and could include junior high sports too. The focus of the program would be on prevention, management and treatment of student athletes. The ATs could do impact testing with Marshall University, helmet and equipment fitting, weight assessment for wrestling, and skin checks for wrestlers. The ATs would consult with physicians if needed and the student athletes would have “preferred access” to doctors if they need to be seen and this would get the student in quickly.
Roush said they would provide sports medicine and health clinics at all three schools. Roush said his goal would be to achieve the “safe sport school award,” which means the schools offer everything to keep athletes safe.
Roush and Mullins said that they want the AT programs offered by PVH to be the standard for the state and want to offer these opportunities for the youth and community.
From Holzer, JT Holland, executive director for sports medicine, and Dr. Kelly Roush (DC CCSP ATC), director of sports medicine, gave the presentation of their services. Holland said that Holzer has worked with Mason County Schools for 20 years. Dr. Roush said she has over 12 years of experience providing for area athletes and initiated the concussion impact program, which was the first in the region, Dr. Roush said.
Dr. Roush and Holland said Holzer has donated many services and expanded many facilities in Mason County over the years, which includes the clinic at Point Pleasant High School. If Holzer were awarded the contact, they would provide full AT coverage at games and practices at all three high schools.
Holland said Holzer has a team of ATs, neurologists and other physicians that will be available when needed. Holland also noted the health system has malpractice insurance for all healthcare providers. Holzer will provide a physician for each school, Holland said. Dr. Roush said that they have five full-time (athletic) trainers, four of which have masters degrees.
Dr. Roush said the additional services would include Saturday morning clinics in the fall, summer conditioning services in June and July, weight certifications for wrestling, sports physicals, concussion training for coaches.
Board of education President Jared Billings thanked all representatives for their interest and dedication to the students of Mason County. Billings said a committee would review the information to make a recommendation to the whole board at a later date.
More about Tuesday’s board of education meeting will appear in upcoming editions of the Register.
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Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.