Justice said he believes it would be a mistake at this time to single out the Beckley-based hospital and that the sale of state medical facilities must be part of a comprehensive plan.

The governor praised DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch for crafting a forward thinking plan to improve patient facilities, protect current employees and generate economic development with new construction. Because the Legislature did not include other state properties similar to Withrow, West Virginia will not see results equating to DHHR efficiency.

The bill was introduced during the special session because West Virginia badly needs to rehab many of its state-run medical facilities. Governor Justice said Friday that it’s not right to only deal with one hospital when DHHR needs the capability to implement a comprehensive strategy statewide.

“We need to evaluate our needs across the entire state, and this bill would only single out Jackie Withrow Hospital,” said Justice. “ Only focusing on one hospital won’t get the job done — it’s a half-measure. Secretary Crouch and his team have done a fantastic job of crafting a plan to help the patients, staff and communities in need of a new state facility. It’s too bad that this legislation watered down the plan put forward by DHHR.”

Justice added, “I want the residents and the staff at Jackie Withrow to know that I hear them and that my focus is on providing the best possible care to our people. I’m vetoing this bill because we can’t settle for upgrading just one hospital at a time. I want the Legislature to adopt the full DHHR plan to revitalize our state facilities.”