PARKERSBURG — WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center is recruiting physicians to work in the hospital’s new emergency department.

After years of using contracted emergency room doctors through an organization from another state, WVU Medicine has taken over management of the emergency department and is actively recruiting doctors to settle in this area and work for fulltime for the department.

“Camden Clark is a very important part of the WVU Medicine enterprise that stretches all the way from Parkersburg to Martinsburg,” said Dr. Christopher S. Goode, assistant vice president, Emergency Medicine and Physician Services Division for WVU Medicine.“Over the last few years we have integrated our projects and processes, whether it is information technology, sharing best practices and one of the things we have been doing over time in emergency medicine is combining our resources from a staffing standpoint so we can serve our member hospitals as emergency physicians and work to integrate the care.”

Goode is a doctor in the Camden Clark Emergency Department.

WVU Medicine, under its former name of West Virginia United Health System, is the group that facilitated the merger of Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital. The group has several hospitals across the state in its system, including Parkersburg, Morgantown, Bridgeport and Martinsburg.

Each of the big hospitals acts as an anchor for part of the state.

For a number of years, Camden Clark had contracted providers from the a company in Knoxville, Tenn., said Susan Abdella, director of emergency services at Camden Clark.

“Now, we have the benefit of having the person who oversees all of the emergency medicine with our providers, be apart of our system, understands our goals and is actually standing in my department working a shift seeing my barriers in real time to be able to fix them and be able to educate my docs,” Abdella said. “To be able to have that sense of leadership and the knowledge that he brings is a whole lot better than picking up a telephone and calling Knoxville Tenn. and having them show up once every six months.”

Goode said they are trying to bring the level of care up at all hospitals.

“The same care you get in Parkersburg is the same quality care you get in Morgantown and vice versa,” he said. “That is where we are going with our health system model. When the health system was designed years ago, it was very much centered on purchasing and contracts.

“The idea is we can share resources across the entire enterprise and take the best practices from Camden Clark and apply them in Morgantown and Bridgeport. We an share ideas across the system.”

Over the next year, WVU Medicine will be doing work to have an integrated electronic medical record that would be available across all of the hospitals in the WVU Medicine system.

“We are here to serve Camden,” Goode said. “You have a dedicated staff of doctors and nurses. We are here not only to help the transition, but to form a long-term partnership.”

Abdella said having Goode working in the emergency department with the doctors and nurses helps build that relationship.

“To be able to have that sense of leadership and the knowledge that he brings is a whole lot better than picking up a telephone and calling Knoxville and having them show up once every six months,” she said.

Goode said emergency medicine in West Virginia has been dominated by contract groups, who supply emergency doctors across multiple states.

“We decided two years ago, we are a large enough system with enough bright minds in our system that we can reach out and serve our hospitals in a way that our goals are aligned,” he said. “It is a lot easier to manage an emergency department when we all have the same boss. The emergency department at Camden is a shining star from an efficiency standpoint.”

The system being implemented will “eliminate the middle man,” he said, adding WVU Medicine assumes that responsibility.

“The goal is you should be able to get the same quality care in Parkersburg that you can get in Morgantown,” Goode said. “Emergency medicine is just the tip of the sword on that.”

With a solid core of nurses and staff in place, Goode said the focus will be on provider recruitment.

“Our goal is to recruit qualified providers to come to Camden Clark and live in Parkersburg and to be a part of this community and want to make a difference,” Goode said. “That is how you make change in an emergency department.”

Two new doctors were recently recruited to Camden Clark and two advance practice providers were also recruited and they are working on a third.

“We have been successful and we still have some room to grow,” Goode said.

With a national shortage of doctors, Goode believes Camden Clark has much to offer prospective doctors.

“We believe with this brand new emergency department, with a great group of support staff, there is no reason we wouldn’t be able to recruit to Parkersburg,” he said.

Abdella said having that kind of presence also allows them to include these doctors in more of the hospital’s programs and make them a part of what is happening at the hospital.

“This will be better,” she said. “That person knows they will be in the northeastern part of West Virginia working.”

Under the old contract system, doctors could be rotated from one hospital to another.

“When you recruit someone to this location then you have them here and they will be here in the community,” Abdella said. “They will be invested in this area and you will see a difference in the care.

“You have to have a place they want to be and be able to provide the best care for the community.”