The state should build a new long-term care facility in Beckley because maintenance costs for the current hospital far exceed those of any other similar facility, according to a report from the West Virginia Legislative Auditor.
It costs up to $2 million more each year to provide services at Jackie Withrow Hospital than it does at the state's three other long-term care facilities, the report states. The report, compiled by the legislative auditor's performance evaluation and research division, is being presented today to state legislative committees tasked with government operations and organizations.
Built roughly 80 years ago as a tuberculosis sanitarium, Jackie Withrow was initially intended for 655 patients, the report states.
The massive structure instead houses about 84 people on any given day.
The age and size of the building mean higher maintenance and utility costs. "Because of the reduction in patient numbers, there are several floors in various sections of the building that are unused," the report states. "However, because the HVAC system is an older, unzoned system, unused sections still must be heated."
Between 2010 and 2012 the state spent a little more than $10 million on the facility. That translates to roughly $120,000 per patient every year, more than $20,000 costlier than the next closest price tag at a similar state-run facility, the report states.
Maintenance for Jackie Withrow alone cost $763,000 during the same time span. It cost $607,000 at Hopemont Hospital and roughly half a million more than the individual spending at the other two long-term care facilities.