Boone Memorial Hospital
Pulmonary Rehabilitation Center named in honor of the wife of former ABC News “Nightline” anchor, Ted Koppel, opens at BMH
A new pulmonary rehabilitation center opened at Boone Memorial Hospital this month. The center is named in honor of Grace Anne Dorney Koppel, the wife of former ABC news “Nightline” anchor, Ted Koppel.
Boone Memorial Hospital is honored to be one of three rural health organizations in West Virginia to receive financial support from the Dorney Koppel Family Charitable Foundation to start a state-of-the-art rehabilitation program to help patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other breathing problems.
Dorney is a Maryland attorney and Board Member of the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Foundation (COPDF). She is a national patient-advocate for the empowerment of those who have COPD, emphasizing the improvement in quality of life when pulmonary rehabilitation is provided.
In 2001, Grace Anne was diagnosed with a very severe case of COPD and given a few years to live.
“I could walk half a block,” Dorney said. “Then I had to stop to try to catch my breath and I was not given much time.”
COPD is a group of lung diseases including emphysema, refractory asthma, chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis. Instead of taking the prognosis as a death sentence, Grace Anne began pulmonary rehabilitation and through hard work and dedication increased her lung capacity and regained her ability to fully live her life. Since 2007, she has shared her experiences on a national platform and is a testament to not letting her health slow her down. She has served as a national advocate to increase the understanding of pulmonary rehabilitation and served as a model for the power of patients to actively create a healthier future for themselves.
Dorney and Koppel had the idea of expanding access to pulmonary rehabilitation for rural communities. When asked why they chose rural West Virginia, the answer is quite simple.
“Because it’s where the need is. A lot of people here in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky have trouble breathing, so there’s great need here,” said Koppel.
Tommy Mullins is the CEO of Boone Memorial Hospital in Madison. He joined the staff as a bookkeeper in May 1964, the same year the hospital opened its doors. He is currently the only remaining original employee of Boone Memorial Hospital and the longest running CEO in West Virginia (employed at the same continuous hospital). Mullins has received state and national recognition for his role as a small rural hospital CEO, including being named a Distinguished West Virginian, the State's highest honor, two times for his community and rural health accomplishments.
Mullins has been a leader through many difficult years of health care reform yet has made every effort to maintain a solid work environment for the employees of BMH. Boone Memorial Hospital has continued to survive and prosper at a time when many rural hospitals across the State have had to close because of poor economic conditions in most cases.
During his tenure as CEO, Mullins has watched the facility triple in personnel growth and overseen numerous expansions. Just this year Mullins led the process to convert BMH to a 501-c-3 non-profit hospital and helped secure a nearly 32 million dollar loan from the USDA to build a new hospital. Construction plans are underway and Mullins has been instrumental in the overall process. Mullins may very well end up being the only CEO in the State of WV to have been a key player in opening two new hospitals at the same location within 50 years of one another.
The Radiology Department at Boone Memorial Hospital recently finished its renewal process for the mammography accreditation and was granted a 3-year certification from the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Food and Drug Administration.
“Three years is the maximum certification they can grant,” explained Radiology Director, Greg Zornes. The process is actually quite involved. When they come in to do the inspection they check our equipment and the QA (Quality Assurance) program, which basically means making sure our Radiologist Technologists are following proper procedures and meeting standards. We also have to send images of actual patients to make sure our positioning is good and the quality of our pictures meets their standards. There were no deficiencies found in any of these areas. We were very pleased. The hard work and dedication of our Radiology Technologists, Lora Ballard, Angie Chafin and Lisa Pratt is the main reason we achieved this excellent rating,” Zornes added.
A plan to break ground for a new hospital at Boone Memorial in Madison goes from vision to reality.
In July 2011 the BMH Board of Trustees (now known as the Board of Directors) unanimously agreed to hire a design-build company to allow BMH to move forward with building a brand new hospital. BMH Administrator, Tommy Mullins said they hope to have blue prints and break ground by late summer. The project is estimated to take 24 months from the time of groundbreaking. The hospital will build the new, $34.3 million hospital and clinic space with help from a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan.
“The Board had many discussions as to whether we should remodel the existing hospital versus build a brand new facility, but they all agreed that the community deserves a fresh, new hospital,” said Mullins. In addition, according to a news release, Boone Memorial’s existing hospital would be “extremely costly to renovate or remodel due to the method of construction.”
In September 2012, the USDA Rural Development program approved a $31.8 million Community Facility Direct Loan to build, equip and furnish the new hospital. Community Facility Direct Loans help develop essential community facilities in rural areas with up to 20,000 in population, according to the USDA.
Boone Memorial Hospital first opened its doors in 1964 and has been providing health care to Boone County and the surrounding area ever since. A nearly 79,000-square-foot hospital will replace the outdated facility.