Marshall Health, Marshall University, and Mountain Health Network boards approve first step toward clinical integration


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall Health, Marshall University and Mountain Health Network governing boards voted unanimously this week to authorize signing a letter of intent to form an integrated academic health system with the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.  

Guided by each of their missions, the newly integrated academic health system will consist of Mountain Health Network’s four hospitals: Cabell Huntington Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Hoops Family Children’s Hospital and Rivers Health (formerly Pleasant Valley Hospital); its ambulatory facilities, medical offices and employed physician practices; and Marshall Health’s physician practice and its facilities. 

 “Hospitals, physicians, and medical schools across the country are realizing the value of more closely aligning and harnessing the strengths of each entity to benefit the patients they serve,” stated Mountain Health Network CEO Kevin W. Yingling, R.Ph., M.D., FACP. “The hospitals, physician practice and medical school have a strong history of collaboration and the time is right to formalize our relationship.” 

 “While our institutions have collaborated for nearly 50 years, this letter of intent marks the beginning of our evolution into a true academic health system,” said Beth L. Hammers, M.B.A., CEO of Marshall Health. “Our commitment to our faculty, students, patients, team members and community will remain at the forefront as we align our missions and speak with one voice to transform health care in West Virginia and beyond.” 

Marshall University President Brad D. Smith said the formation of the integrated academic health system embodies the history the organizations share and presents a significant opportunity for the future.  

"The most powerful word in our university’s rally cry – We Are Marshall – is the word “we,” said Smith.  “Education and research are central to the mission of the new academic health system, and this alignment will strengthen the educational experience and opportunities for research and discovery for Marshall University students. Equally important, our centers of excellence in addiction medicine, obesity, gerontology and rural health will continue to flourish and enhance our abilities to meet the needs of our population. In combination, we will advance our role as a prosperity platform, accelerating individual success, innovative ideas and economic impact in the community and greater Appalachian region." 

 The formation of an academic health system will drive the delivery of high-quality multidisciplinary care, provide a forum for training the next generation of health care providers and advance research opportunities aimed at improving the health and wellness of patients and communities across West Virginia and the bordering states of Kentucky and Ohio. 

 The letter of intent is the first step in the process that enables the three entities to proceed with the necessary due diligence and governing documents that result in a definitive agreement. All three entities are committed to completing the process by the end of the year. More information will be shared as the process continues. 


About Marshall University 
Marshall University is a comprehensive public university with a rich history as one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in West Virginia. Founded in 1837, Marshall University advances the public good through innovative, accredited educational programs. With a student population of close to 12,000 students, Marshall offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs and is designated as a Carnegie Institute R2 high research activity university.   

About Marshall Health
Marshall Health is the clinical enterprise of Marshall University and its Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. Marshall Health brings together leading clinicians and researchers to provide world-class care throughout southern West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. With more than 420 providers in 75 areas of primary and specialty care, Marshall Health’s impact extends throughout the region through more than 40 outpatient clinics in 13 counties and telemedicine. To learn more, visit  

About Mountain Health Network 
Mountain Health Network is a West Virginia-based, not-for-profit health delivery system composed of Cabell Huntington Hospital, a 303-bed teaching hospital for Marshall University Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy and Nursing; St. Mary’s Medical Center, a 393-bed teaching hospital that operates St. Mary’s Schools of Nursing, Respiratory Care and Medical Imaging; Hoops Family Children’s Hospital, a 72-bed pediatric specialty hospital within Cabell Huntington Hospital; HIMG, an 80-member multi-specialty physician group; and Pleasant Valley Hospital, a 101 acute-bed hospital. Mountain Health is committed to improving the health and well-being of over one million children and adults in 38 counties in West Virginia, southern Ohio, and eastern Kentucky through understanding, respecting and meeting their needs. For more information, visit 

Photo: Marshall University President Brad D. Smith, Marshall Health CEO Beth L. Hammers and Mountain Health Network CEO Dr. Kevin Yingling are pictured Monday, April 24, at the Marshall University Medical Center.


Media Relations Contact

Michele McKnight
Assistant Director of External Affairs

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