Project establishes pulmonary rehab center at BMH

Fred Pace

November 5, 2013

CABIN CREEK – Patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) now have access to the Grace Anne Dorney Pulmonary Rehabilitation Project – a state-of-the-art program dedicated to offering pulmonary rehabilitation for men and women living in Southern West Virginia.

In honor of the Project and all those who made it possible, Cabin Creek Health Systems today hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at their clinic, which was attended by Senator Jay Rockefeller as well as Ted Koppel and Grace Anne Dorney; UMWA President Cecil Roberts; Craig Robinson, Director of the Cabin Creek Health Center; Dr. Dan Doyle, COPD Project Medical Director; Chuck Menders, Director of Respiratory Care at Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) and Kim Tieman from the Benedum Foundation.

Cabin Creek Health Systems is coordinating the Project, made partly possible through financial assistance from the Senator and his wife, Sharon Rockefeller, that establishes pulmonary rehab centers at three southern West Virginia sites: at Cabin Creek, at New River Health Center in Fayette County and at Boone Memorial Hospital in Madison.

Typically, pulmonary rehab services are only available in large urban areas, far from many of the patients who suffer from the disease.

Rockefeller today thanked all those who made the Project possible for their efforts in creating a unique partnership of health facilities and contributors dedicated to improving the care of people coping with COPD.

“When Ted and Grace Anne contacted me about bringing this to West Virginia, I embraced their vision immediately. Fighting chronic lung disease in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia is a moral imperative. This facility located in Cabin Creek will give rural communities access to the critically important care and services they need to manage this heartbreaking and often debilitating disease,” Rockefeller said. “Black Lung and COPD are the a scourges of Appalachia, affecting more people here than anywhere else. It’s a serious health crisis that demands our best efforts. I’m so honored that my good friends, Ted Koppel and Grace Anne Dorney, and many others have given so much of their time and generous support to help us in this effort. This is a very important turning point for the health of COPD patients in Southern West Virginia.”

“It is a remarkable partnership that makes this project possible,” said Craig Robinson, director of the Cabin Creek Health Center. “Given the high numbers of our patients suffering with COPD, and the solid science behind pulmonary rehab, this new service is long overdue. We know that the program will transform patients’ lives.”

“With West Virginia’s high prevalence of COPD, the opportunity to partner with the Dorney Koppel Foundation on a program to improve pulmonary function is very promising,” said Kim Tieman, program officer with the Benedum Foundation, which provided crucial funding for the program. “We are pleased that through this effort, Cabin Creek Health Center will offer a model of pulmonary care and rehabilitation that gives hope for an improved quality of life for those suffering from COPD.”

“COPD is tough enough without people telling you that you have an incurable disease. We can only hope that our friends in medical research will come up with a cure one of these days; but until they do, physical rehabilitation can work wonders making life a little easier for COPD patients. It’s our hope that these three new physical rehab’ centers in West Virginia will serve as an inspiration and a model to others around the country,” said Grace Anne Dorney and Ted Koppel.

“As we work to reduce the prevalence of black lung among coal miners, it’s important that there be facilities like this for those who have already contracted this terrible disease,” said UMWA President Roberts. “These facilities will go a long way to improving the quality of life for thousands, and we thank Sen Rockefeller, the Dorney Koppel Foundation, all those who made it possible.”

“The efforts undertaken here can have a lasting impact on the quality of patients’ lives in Southern West Virginia,” Rockefeller said. “It means a grandfather can lead his grandson to a favorite fishing spot, or a father can have the first dance at his daughter’s wedding. Or it means sitting through a Sunday sermon or a trip to the grocery store are again possible. And life is again possible.