The recent record-setting surge of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the Commonwealth is a clear reminder of the important work done by Virginia hospitals and health systems to protect public health and well-being.
The ongoing pandemic response is just one aspect of the work done each day by Virginia’s hospitals to support their communities. Many other examples of that important work are featured in the newly released 2022 Annual Report on Community Benefit that details how Virginia hospitals and health systems provided $3.1 billion in community support to the Commonwealth in 2020.
The Community Benefit report from the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) highlights the substantial community contributions, public health and safety investments, and economic impact Virginia’s local hospitals and health systems make. These contributions include the provision of essential health services, free and discounted care to patients without insurance or the means to pay for care, and many other programs that support medical education and clinical research, health care access, critical and often under-funded health services, and promote quality of life.
The report also spotlights Virginia hospitals’ continuing work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the critical role hospitals play in providing behavioral health care to Virginians in needs of such clinical services. While the figures presented in the Community Benefit report reflect many investments and contributions made by Virginia hospitals, they are only a partial picture of the community value hospitals provide. For instance, the report does not account for the hundreds of millions of dollars
Virginia hospitals invest each year to fund the Commonwealth’s share of Medicaid expansion costs.
“Being of service to communities is central to the mission of hospitals across Virginia,” said Steve Arner, Carilion Clinic Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and chairman of the VHHA Board of Directors. “The Annual Report on Community Benefit showcases some of the important work of Virginia hospitals and health systems and the many benefits they provide across the Commonwealth. Those benefits have perhaps never been more evident than now during the current record-setting surge of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.”
“Hospitals and health systems are essential to the well-being of Virginians and the vitality of the Commonwealth,” added VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “Whether the need is life-sustaining care, initiatives to promote community health, responding to public health emergencies such as the current pandemic, or contributing to the economy, the positive impacts Virginia hospitals and health systems make are undeniable.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Commonwealth in March 2020, Virginia hospitals and health systems have been on the frontlines of the response effort, having treated and discharged more than 84,500 patients admitted for inpatient care after contracting the virus. Throughout the pandemic, Virginia hospitals have effectively pursued strategies to boost testing and address supply shortages, supported efforts to increase ventilator capacity, served as a national leader in the use of new therapeutic treatments, adapted staffing models to address workforce issues, administered more than 2 million vaccine doses, and made targeted investments to increase treatment capacity for patients in need of intensive inpatient care. They have done all this and more while absorbing more than $1.8 billion in revenue losses associated with the pandemic.
In addition to the $3.1 billion in community benefit, Virginia hospitals provide more than 115,000 direct jobs with more than $10 billion in payroll and benefits, and hospitals generate roughly $45 billion in annual positive economic impact for the Commonwealth. Local hospitals in Virginia treat the uninsured, under-insured, those with commercial insurance, and other patients regardless of ability to pay. Hospitals support free clinics, mobile treatment programs, and free health screenings. They provide prescription drug assistance, transportation, and many other programs and initiatives beneficial to the community. Hospitals also provide substantial subsidies to clinical services such as trauma centers and neonatal units. They support the education of future nurses, doctors, and other health care providers. All the while, Virginia hospitals continue to receive recognition for top performance in patient safety, health care quality, and emergency readiness. Virginia recently ranked first among all states in the Fall 2021 Leapfrog Group Hospital Safety Grade state rankings that are based on the share of hospitals in each state that earned “A” grades. The Commonwealth has consistently been rated a top state in those bi-annual patient safety rankings. Also last year, a dozen Virginia hospitals earned places on Healthgrades’ 2021 list of America’s 250 Best Hospitals, another 16 Virginia hospitals were named 2021 Patient Safety Excellence Award winners by Healthgrades, and seven Virginia hospitals earned the 2021 Healthgrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award.
Meanwhile, the Commonwealth has been ranked as one of the states best prepared to respond to public health emergencies by the National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI) in 2021 and 2020, and has also been listed among the highest performing states in the Trust for America’s Health Ready or Not: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism annual report in each of the past two years.