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…