Coal/Energy Coalition Honors Eight at WVU

Medical faculty improves care, saves costs

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Coal/Energy Coalition has identified eight faculty members in the West Virginia University School of Medicine as “Best in Class.” Only about 4 percent of providers serving patients covered under the insurance plans of coal companies earned the honor. The coalition is leading a national effort to improve health care and slow down runaway pharmaceutical costs.

Paul Ridgely, of Wheeling, representing ProPharma Pharmaceutical Consultants, Inc.,  and the Coal/Energy Coalition, presented “Best in Class” certificates recently to Karen Clark, M.D., Shanthi Manivannan, M.D., Jack Riggs, M.D., and Mary Warden, M.D., all of the Department of Medicine; Lesa Feather, P.A., of the Student Health Service, and Eric Jones, M.D., Ph.D., of the Department of Orthopaedics.

WVU Charleston Division physicians Kathleen Bors, M.D., Family Medicine, and  Stephen Bush, M.D., Obstetrics and Gynecology, will also receive the “Best in Class” honor.

“Five coal companies have joined together to seek nontraditional solutions to the unsustainable increases in health costs,” Ridgely said. “For several years, the pharmacy costs for the mine workers and their families have increased by about 20 percent a year or higher. We believe that working with practitioners is the best way to improve quality and manage costs.” 

The increasing prescription drug costs put a burden on both the companies, whose total health care costs are rising, and the employees, who bear more out-of-pocket costs, he added. By working with the physicians and others who provide care to these patients, the coalition has substantially slowed the rate of increase in costs.

Pro Pharma, which manages the Coal/Energy Coalition, reviewed the medical records of thousands of patients, treated by 7,500 doctors and other health professionals across the country. Only about 4 percent of the providers, including the eight at WVU, were certified as “Best in Class” in categories such as appropriate use of generic medicine, following proven treatment guidelines, etc. Pro Pharma works with practitioners on improving quality of prescribing, reducing out-of-pocket costs for patients, and managing health care costs.

The companies participating in the coalition are Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, Foundation Coal Holdings, Riverton Coal Company, and Pittston Coal Company.

- WVU -

For more information:
Bill Case, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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