On Wellness in WV

On Monday, a release was sent out noting that U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, along with Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin announced funding awarded to Prestera Center to help with substance abuse and mental health.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, along with Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin (all D-W.Va.), Monday announced Federal funding has been awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to Prestera Center to expand and increase patient access to mental health treatment and substance abuse recovery support services.

“The hard work of addressing the problems of prescription drugs in our region is underway, and funding like this can go a long way in addressing the treatment needs and demand in our communities,” said Rahall, who is a co-chairman of the Congressional Prescription Drug Abuse Caucus. “I will keep right on working side-by-side with our communities to fight for federal resources that will save lives and ensure needed access to care in our State.”

“Giving our community organizations that specialize in substance abuse support for their work is vital to combating our statewide prescription drug abuse problem. This is a much deserved and needed boost for Prestera Center in Huntington, and for the dedicated staff that’s working so hard to help people in their community who are battling addiction,” said Rockefeller. “This is a heartbreaking epidemic for our state, and I won’t stop looking for ways to help those suffering until we end this problem.

“Drug addiction hurts more than just the person abusing drugs; it hurts loved ones, hinders job creation and destroys communities,” said Manchin. “To combat our drug abuse epidemic around West Virginia and across America, we must continue funding critical programs like these that will improve mental health services to those who are seriously struggling with addiction. The bottom line is that the toll drug addiction is taking on jobs, families and communities must stop.

Prestera Center for Mental Health Services, headquartered in Huntington, will receive a $280,000 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Service Grant to expand its Technology Assisted Care (TAC) telemedicine capabilities to reach clients throughout its eight-county catchment area, providing improved access to services and coordinated recovery support to improve health outcomes for 2,000 clients over the course of the three year program. Prestera expects a minimum of 900 individuals will utilize its expanded telemedicine capabilities to manage their medications, access their care provider or receive specialty services which are otherwise unavailable to them.  Through the Center’s existing certified electronic behavioral healthcare system clients can obtain treatment and specialty care without barriers such as transportation, lack of qualified provider, or stigma which may be inhibiting their access to care.

The program “Doctors On Call” has celebrated 700 episodes. The program features physicians and health professionals. As per a WVU Health Release:
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As WVU Hospitals’ Ruby Memorial celebrates its 25th anniversary this month, another impressive milestone has been reached. This week marks the 700th episode of “Doctors On Call” (DoC), a statewide program on West Virginia Public Television that features WVU Healthcare physicians and other health professionals.

When “Doctors On Call” debuted on Jan. 14, 1993, it was instantly popular with viewers throughout the state. But no one would have predicted that the live, medical call-in show would still be on the air more than 20 years later, as few things last that long on television. Today, the phone lines still ring off the hook, and doctors donning makeup sit under the set’s bright lights to answer as many viewers’ questions they can fit into a half-hour show.

“Doctors On Call,” a joint production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, WVU Healthcare and WVU Health Sciences, began as a way to reach people in the far corners of the state with up-to-date medical information.

“It really took off immediately because people were so hungry for information about their health,” Amy Johns, producer of DoC and director of public affairs for WVU Healthcare, said. “Now, even though there are so many more options readily available for such information, the program is still relevant. I think one of the reasons is the interactive nature of the show. Another is the positive reputation of the healthcare experts at WVU.”

“The program has provided a great forum to enhance awareness of health issues throughout West Virginia,” Bruce McClymonds, president and CEO of WVU Hospitals, said. “It has enabled West Virginians to learn and ask questions about critical issues impacting their health.”

“Doctors On Call” wasn’t the educational institutions’ first foray into television. Since 1990, WVU doctors have been sharing their wisdom on the WVU Health Report, first on WCHS-TV in Charleston, then a few years later on evening news broadcasts throughout the state. The health reports now appear on West Virginia Media stations in Clarksburg (WBOY-TV), Charleston-Huntington (WOWK-TV), Beckley (WVNS-TV), and Wheeling (WTRF).

Both television efforts initially featured former WVU Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the WVU School of Medicine Robert D’Alessandri, M.D., who became popularly known as “Dr. Bob.” Dr. D’Alessandri considered the television programs “natural extensions” of the mission of the health sciences at WVU. Current WVU Chancellor for Health Sciences Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., agrees.

“As a way to bring medical and health information to the citizens of West Virginia, ‘Doctors On Call’ and the health reports have been a tremendous success.  From Dr. Bob to Dr. Rolly (Sullivan), all of the WVU hosts and their experts have been focused on one vision – to transform lives and eliminate health disparities,” Dr. Colenda said.

Many WVU Healthcare doctors, even those initially reluctant about appearing live on television, have become comfortable in front of the camera and consider the television shows to be a valuable way to communicate with patients.

“It is a real honor to be invited into the living rooms of so many West Virginians each week as we try to do our part to help improve their health and wellness,” Arthur Ross, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the WVU School of Medicine, said. “We value these partnerships and look forward to many more episodes to come.”

Rolly Sullivan, M.D., an addiction specialist for WVU Healthcare, hosts the WVU Health Reports and “Doctors On Call.” Other hosts for Doctors On Call are pediatric cardiologist John Phillips, M.D.; pediatric infectious disease specialist Kathy Moffett, M.D.; orthopaedic surgeon Joe Prudhomme, M.D.; and gynecologist Mahreen Hashmi, M.D.

The topic for this week’s 700th “Doctors On Call” is lung problems. The show airs at 8 p.m. on Thursday nights. Upcoming topics are vascular problems, breast cancer and joint problems. Recent WVU Health Reports focus on spinal deformities in children, travel vaccines and heart health. All shows and reports are posted to WVU Healthcare’s YouTube channel: www.YouTube.com/WVUHealthcare.

Viewers of DoC can learn about upcoming topics and provide feedback and requests on the program’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DoctorsOnCallWVU.