A Health Center Serving the Needs of our Coal Miners

Published 10-20-2010 12:48 PM | Mark D. Birdwhistell  

As a follow up to my "Adventure Down Into the Coal Mines" blog post, I wanted to highlight the clinical component of my trip to West Virginia. My friend  Dr. Raymond D. Wells , is Alliance Coal's on-site medical provider.  For the past couple of years he has been trying to describe to me the medical model of care that he has created for the Alliance Coal mines.  I did not fully understand his model until I visited there. There are clinic sites at each of the coal operations. Prior to the health centers having a permanent structures at all of the mining locations, a traveling clinic provided medical services to Alliance Coal employees and their families. Dr. Wells, pictured below, and his staff are dedicated to providing the best medical care.  It is an outstanding model of an integrated healthcare system which will be essential in the future. Dr. Wells utilizes telemedicine technology to meet with his staff and see patients remotely. This has created unbelievable efficiencies- more consults, more face-to-face, less travel and so on. I was very impressed by the system and the clinical team that works with Dr. Wells.  Hermiety Van Laar (pictured below) serves as the nurse practitioner at the Wheeling West Virginia site.  She does an outstanding job and the miners fully depend on her for their daily health care needs. 



 Dr. Raymond Wells standing outside the Health Center at Tunnel Ridge.


Utilizing the telemedicine technology to speak with one of the nurse practitioners at another facility.  


 Inside the health center


 The exterior of the health center located on-site at Tunnel Ridge.


 L to R: Hermiety Van Laar, Nurse Practitioner and Dr. Raymond Wells, Medical Director


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