Board elected to represent Region 4 of the West Virginia Foundation

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. The Vice President of External Affairs from Mon Health, Jonathan Board, has been elected to represent Region 4 (13 counties) on the West Virginia Foundation. The foundation has about $1 billion in opioid crisis settlements from CVS, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen.

The foundation will decide how about 70 percent of the settlement is spent, with the remaining balance going directly to municipal government units statewide.

“We have to understand this foundation represents countless hours of work from the attorney general and others who have represented those in greatest need throughout the state, the Board said. “Indeed, this is the people’s money.”

The voting members from Region 4, which includes Monongalia, Braxton, Lewis, Harrison, Marion, Preston, Taylor, Tucker, Barbour, Randolph, Gilmer, Doddridge, and Upshur counties, also voted to maintain full transparency with the public while allocation decisions are being made.

“I am fully in favor of abiding by a completely transparent model, and I think that is something not to be taken lightly,” Board said. “I loved the fact that it was approved unanimously.”

For the board, this is an opportunity to promote efficiencies and foster a team environment across the 13-county region. Making sure each organization fulfills an important function and eliminates duplication to get the most out of the money will be a priority as the decisions are made.

“From mental health to peer review and physical support to community support, none of it can be left off the table,” the board said. “We really have to strive to bring the very best together.”

Evaluating the inventory of all available services and agencies, which will include established organizations along with lesser-known local groups, will be part of the process. As a result, some of those organizations could grow or share a particular approach or process to be used in one of the other 13 counties.

“We’re going to look for those organizations and individuals who have both been there and done that and others who have not been in this space but have amazing ideas,” Board said. “And if they’re successful in one place, we want to expand that to the rest of the region.”

The settlement is a one-time opportunity to heal and bring some closure to families and people harmed by the opioid crisis. To accomplish that, the board said every spending decision has to be carefully evaluated, then monitored to ensure the foundation gets the most and best value for the money.

“We need to be really mindful of our fiduciary duty to all West Virginians; there is nothing as precious as the lives we are trying to make better, and we always have to be mindful of that, the Board said.

The voting results are unofficial until they are certified by the Attorney General’s Office.

Previous elections have determined that Director of Berkeley County Community Corrections, Timothy Czaja, will represent Region 2, Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce in Region 3, State Health Officer and Bureau of Public Health Commissioner, Dr. Matthew Christiansen in Region 5, and emergency room doctor, Tom Kelly, in Region 6.

The Region 1 election is being held at the Highlands Event Center in Triadelphia Thursday night at 6 p.m. Region 1 includes Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio. Marshall and Wetzel Counties