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CAMC budget lagging

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston Area Medical Center's board of trustees received some bad budget news Wednesday.

CAMC is behind 25 percent, or about $7 million to $8 million, on its budget for this year, Chief Financial Officer Larry Hudson told board members.

In Wednesday's Board of Trustees meeting Hudson told board members expenses are high and revenue is low for this year.

Hudson said the company is taking a close look at expenses.

"We are looking at operations to see where we can perform better and more economically," he said. "We are realigning how we buy supplies, utilize supplies, deliver care, so it's more economical and so care is maintained."

Hospital admissions are down nationally by about 2 percent, and Hudson said CAMC is on par with that trend.

Wednesday's meeting wasn't all bad news. Board members also heard of positive developments in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit and a decrease in reported cases of pneumonia in patients.

Board member Ed Welch said the hospital has eliminated ventilator-associated pneumonia cases and reduced catheter-associated urinary tract infections. 

Five years ago, the hospital was struggling with pneumonia among ventilator patients, Welch said.

"Now, we've done it," Welch told board members. "The key to improving rates on ventilator-associated pneumonia is tilting the bed at 30 degrees.

 "The result of that is a year ago, we had 30 pneumonias. ... Now, from January to June, we had zero," he said. "That's where we want to be. That's a really good thing."

Welch said the hospital also was successful in decreasing catheter-associated urinary tract infection rates to zero and reducing central line associated infections.

Another area the hospital improved upon is preventing heat loss in babies in the NICU.

"A 1-degree decrease in temperature means risk of mortality increases and sepsis increases," Welch said.

One of the steps physicians took was putting newborns in a type of warming bag. 

"The bags are from the chest down," Wood said. "They keep warmth in these really small babies in a critical time in their lives. You will often see a little toboggan on their head to keep their temperature at a certain level."

Nine months ago, the hospital was reporting 62 percent of NICUI infants with body temperatures at 97.7 degrees, but that rate is now at 26 percent.

Contact writer Andrea Lannom at or 304-348-5148. Follow her at


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