Camp Counselor turned Director of Marketing and Communications for Roane General Hospital, Delegate Riley Keaton rose on the house floor in 2022 to express his feelings on the state’s controversial Certificate of Need legislation.
You’re vote on these amendments…is a vote on your hospital’s access to capital, on its solvency if it comes down to it.” Delegate Riley Keaton – R-Roane
Keaton was arguing to defeat amendments offered by then House Majority Leader Amy Summers, R-Taylor. Summers’ had offered a series of amendments repealing the state-sponsored monopolization of healthcare facilities. Repealing the law would have created an expansion in services and brought competition in the free market for hospitals, MRI Centers, dialysis services, hospice services, surgical centers, home health, nursing homes, and even services for the intellectually disabled.
Summers wasn’t just the House Majority Leader, she’s also a veteran emergency room nurse. On the floor, she said, “I just have a hard time sometimes understanding why anyone wants to allow barriers to healthcare in West Virginia because we need more services. We have over-regulated the healthcare marketplace. The quality metrics are low.”
The understanding of why anyone wants barriers to healthcare in West Virginia may be very clear.
Delegate Riley Keaton holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from WVU. Prior to being hired by Roane General Hospital in a Marketing and Communications position he was employed as the Director of Camping by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. He was in this position when he offered his floor speech to restrict healthcare expansion in the state, within six months he was hired by the hospital with no previously documented relevant healthcare, business, or healthcare marketing experience. In fact, it appears his only healthcare experience originated with his vote to protect Certificate of Need and restrict healthcare options to West Virginia citizens.
Keaton is not the only member of the legislature to work for healthcare organizations. Fellow Delegate Caleb Hanna became the Director of Public Relations for WVU Medicine in April 2022 following the same legislative session. Other legislators include doctors and nurses who are employed by health care providers subject to a Certificate of Need. Those legislators include key members such as Senator Mike Maroney and Senator Tom Takubo who are the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Health Committee. Maroney works for CAMC hospitals, and Takubo joined WVU Health System as a “Senior Leader” also in September 2022. The House Committee on Health is led by nurses Amy Summers and Heather Glasko Tulley who have been employed by the same entities since they were elected.