Raleigh General's new CEO shares goals for health care

June 9, 2017

Raleigh General Hospital's new CEO, Matthew Roberts, aims to expand services at the hospital so residents don't have to travel for their health care needs. 

"We have to grow our physician base," Roberts shared Thursday. "We need more physicians. We need more services. The key is going to be bringing in physicians in specialties we don't have so we can keep those folks from leaving town." 

Specifically, to address the needs of southern West Virginia's aging medical community, Roberts said physicians with surgical specialties will be recruited, as well as specialists in neurology, rheumatology and endocrinology. 

Many patients in southern West Virginia also have co-morbidities, meaning they have multiple illnesses at once, which can be challenging for a hospital without multiple specialists on board. 

"Those are all things we're trying to bring in, which would keep people from having to go to places like Charleston," Roberts said. "Rather than spending an hour going each way, you can stay right here and get taken care of."

In addition to saving time and money, Roberts said better access to care will eliminate patient concerns about burdening their families if they're in the hospital out of town. 

"Really, a community our size, we should have a lot more specialists than we do and a lot more physicians than we do, so we're going to work hard to fill those needs."

Roberts said he sees great opportunities for health care at Raleigh General. Before the year is out, he plans to announce an educational initiative to improve health in the region. 

He noted $8.1 million in renovations completed at the hospital over the past several years, including a renovation of the ER, remodeling the in-patient rooms and the addition of a wound care center — all of which will help meet the needs of patients and make their stay more comfortable.  

"We're going to continue to spend more money to make the hospital nicer for our patients."

Roberts, who's been on board at Raleigh General since November, replaces Harold Siglar, who served as the interim CEO since May 2016. 

Most recently, Roberts served as CEO of Glenwood Regional Medical Center in West Monroe, La. During his tenure at GRMC, Roberts recruited 11 new physicians, opened five new primary care locations, expanded the hospitalist/intensivist program to include neurology, and started a cardiac/pulmonary rehabilitation clinic. 

"I'm very excited to be here. Beckley, W.Va., feels like home," the Tennessee native shared. 

Roberts said he was especially struck by the friendliness of local residents and the beauty of the area. 

"This is a great hospital in a great community, and I look forward to joining the team and leading the hospital into the future."

Nancy Kissinger, chair of Raleigh General's Board of Trustees, said she knows Roberts will be a wonderful leader for the hospital and the community.

"His obvious passion for community and serving others, paired with his deep knowledge of hospital administration, will help take our community hospital to the next level." 

Roberts will live in the Beckley area with his wife of 12 years, Brandy, and their two young children, Andrew and Will. 

— Email: wholdren@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren