Latest News, WV Press InSight Videos

Putnam hospital eyes smoke-free loophole

Charleston Gazette photo by Lawrence Pierce The small, covered smokers’ area outside CAMC Teays Valley Hospital could be transferred to the Putnam County Development Authority, as hospital officials attempt to comply with a requirement that the hospital’s campus be completely smoke-free.
Charleston Gazette photo by Lawrence Pierce
The small, covered smokers’ area outside CAMC Teays Valley Hospital could be transferred to the Putnam County Development Authority, as hospital officials attempt to comply with a requirement that the hospital’s campus be completely smoke-free.

WINFIELD, W.Va. — CAMC Teays Valley Hospital wants to provide a safe place for employees, visitors and patients to smoke — it just doesn’t want to own that place anymore.

Randy Hodges, the hospital’s administrator, has asked the Putnam County Development Authority to buy the hospital’s only two smoking areas — for one dollar — while the hospital continues to maintain the areas and assume legal liability for them.

He said the areas — one near the emergency room and another near a loading dock — amount to only about 30 to 50 square feet.

An accreditation company that determines whether the hospital can continue getting paid to serve Medicare and Medicaid patients — representing more than half of its total patient volume — requires CAMC Teays Valley to move toward being a “smoke-free campus.”

Hodges said the last annual evaluation — the results of which the hospital didn’t provide to the Gazette — went well, but it requested a plan for CAMC Teays Valley to go smoke-free.

However, CAMC doesn’t want to shut down the smoking areas because — unlike the Charleston Area Medical Center branches in Charleston — there are no publicly owned sidewalks or other safe places to light up outside.

“We can go smoke-free and we can force our employees that way, but if you have a loved one in the ER, you’re going to smoke,” Hodges told development authority board members at a meeting this week.

“If we say you can’t smoke here, you’re either going out in the road, which [adjacent] Sevilla Drive is very heavily traveled now, or you’re going to start going over to the neighboring businesses and smoking, which we don’t want to happen…

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter