BUCKHANNON, West Virginia – West Virginia Wesleyan College today announced its intention to develop a new master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling made possible through a collaborative $1.2 million project investment from Aetna Better Health of West Virginia and Community Care of West Virginia. Community Care has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Wesleyan to support the program and offer positions to each student who completes the degree, after accreditation approval.
West Virginia significantly trails the nation in mental and behavioral healthcare providers. On average, the United States has at least one mental and behavioral healthcare provider for every 400 people, whereas West Virginia only has one for every 770 people.
“This is a great opportunity for West Virginia Wesleyan to work with key partners to serve our community while providing a degree that will ensure a successful career path for our students,” said Dr. James Moore, Interim President of West Virginia Wesleyan College. “Both Aetna and Community Care of West Virginia should be commended for making this great program possible.”
For several months, Aetna has been working directly with Community Care of West Virginia to identify the greatest needs for the region in which the healthcare organization serves. A higher education institution with a long history of advanced degrees in healthcare was needed to develop the bridge to a solution.
“A key part to Aetna’s mission is helping to build resources in the communities we serve,” said Todd White, CEO of Aetna Better Health of West Virginia. “West Virginia Wesleyan will be able to deliver the advanced education needed by organizations like Community Care of West Virginia to have the highest quality of healthcare professionals to serve patients.”
As the second-most rural state in the country, the low population density creates a unique set of challenges in caring for the population. Additionally, West Virginia has consistently witnessed the nation’s highest rate of illegal drug overdose deaths.
“Community Care of West Virginia is proud of the role our organization is taking in this effort,” said Dr. Liam Condon, a psychologist with Community Care of West Virginia. “Our commitment to hire each graduate of Wesleyan’s new master’s program will help retain high-quality healthcare providers right here in the region where they are needed most for our patients.”
About West Virginia Wesleyan College
West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC) is a private, four-year residential liberal arts college in Buckhannon, West Virginia. A tradition of excellence for more than 130 years, West Virginia Wesleyan is home to 14 Fulbright Scholars. The Princeton Review ranked Wesleyan one of its 2023 Best Colleges in the Southeastern Region of the United States. U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-2023 Best College Rankings designated Wesleyan seventh in Best Value – Regional Universities (South). WVWC offers students more than 40 majors and 40 minors; graduate programs in athletic training, business administration, creative writing, and nursing; 22 NCAA Division II athletic programs; multiple performing arts groups; and more than 70 organizations. Founded in 1890, the College is closely affiliated with the United Methodist Church and abides by the Wesley doctrine that emphasizes service to others. For more information, visit wvwc.edu.
About Community Care of West Virginia
Community Care of West Virginia (CCWV) is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) located in West Virginia serving over 50,000 patients from 30 West Virginia counties with sixteen (16) community health center locations, fifty-one (51) school-based health sites, seven (7) 340(b) pharmacies, and one (1) dental office. Community Care of West Virginia employs a dynamic team of more than 500 health professionals including MD, DO, FNP, PA-C, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, LICSW, LCSW, LGSW, RPH, and DDS’s. www.ccwv.org
About Aetna Better Health of West Virginia
Aetna Better Health of West Virginia is the sole managed care organization for the state’s Specialized Managed Care for Children and Youth contract (Mountain Health Promise). The statewide contract covers the physical and behavioral health care services for children and youth in the foster care system and individuals receiving adoption assistance, as well as children in the CSED waiver program. The health plan has administered the CSED waiver program for members in West Virginia since March 1, 2020.
ABHWV also serves West Virginia’s Mountain Health Trust program, which supports most Medicaid eligible groups, including TANF, pregnant women, CSHCN, SSI, the ACA Medicaid Expansion population and CHIP. ABHWV has held this contract since 1996 and they serve more than 200,000 Medicaid eligible West Virginians.
About Aetna Medicaid
Aetna Medicaid Administrators LLC (Aetna Medicaid), a CVS Health company, has over 30 years of experience managing the care of the most medically vulnerable, using innovative approaches and a local presence in each market to achieve both successful health care results and effective cost outcomes. Aetna Medicaid has particular expertise serving high-need Medicaid members, including those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. Currently, Aetna Medicaid owns and/or administers Medicaid managed health care plans under the names of Aetna Better Health and other affiliate names. Together, these plans serve approximately 2.8 million people in 16 states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. For more information, see www.aetnabetterhealth.com.
About CVS Health
CVS Health® is the leading health solutions company, delivering care like no one else can. We reach more people and improve the health of communities across America through our local presence, digital channels and over 300,000 dedicated colleagues – including more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses and nurse practitioners. Wherever and whenever people need us, we help them with their health – whether that’s managing chronic diseases, staying compliant with their medications or accessing affordable health and wellness services in the most convenient ways. We help people navigate the health care system – and their personal health care – by improving access, lowering costs and being a trusted partner for every meaningful moment of health. And we do it all with heart, each and every day. Follow @CVSHealth on social media.