It’s Hospital Week 2019 (May 12-18). This Week, and Every Week, Virginia Hospitals Make Important Contributions to the Commonwealth

May 13, 2019

From Economic Contributions to Local Communities, to Funding for Increased Health Care Access, Driving Improvements on Quality and Patient Safety, and Partnering with State Agencies and Stakeholders to Identify Ways to Enhance Public Health, Local Hospitals are Invested in Making Virginia the Healthiest State in the Nation

RICHMOND, VA – This week, May 12-18, 2019 is National Hospital Week. Here in Virginia, Hospital Week provides an opportunity to acknowledge the many ways in which community hospitals throughout the Commonwealth support patients, families, and continuing efforts to improve the health care delivery system for the millions of Virginians it serves. The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association’s (VHHA) membership includes 110 hospitals and 27 health systems. This network of high-quality hospitals meets the needs of patients young and old, providing acute care and specialty medical services, behavioral health, psychiatric, and substance abuse treatment, rehabilitation care, pediatric care, and much more.

National Hospital Week dates to 1921 and is celebrated each year in May to coincide with the birthday of famed nurse Florence Nightingale. In Virginia, the General Assembly formalized state recognition of Hospital Week in 2015, noting at the time that “Hospitals and health systems in the Commonwealth play an integral role in providing vital health care services to all Virginians, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

“Hospital Week arrives once a year, but the important work that Virginia hospitals do to help patients, families, and communities happens every minute of each day throughout the year,” said VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “Virginia hospitals support public access to health care, conduct research toward finding medical breakthroughs, employ thousands of Virginians in good-paying jobs, and generate billions in positive economic contributions to the state. Our hospitals and the caring, trained providers who staff them are available around the clock to promote and ensure public health. Data indicates Virginia hospitals handle 3.6 million emergency department visits, accommodate approximately 800,000 inpatient admissions, account for more than 4 million patient days, and deliver more than 94,000 babies each year. Virginia hospitals employ more than 125,000 people and contribute billions to the state and local economy. They also play an essential role in emergency preparedness work to respond when natural disasters, viral outbreaks, or man-made episodes impact Virginia. And that’s not all. The ways hospitals serve Virginia continue to evolve to meet emerging public health needs.”

Here are just a few examples of the ways Virginia hospitals demonstrate their commitment to, and support for, the Commonwealth:

  • Last year, Virginia hospitals worked with state officials to develop a new provider assessment mechanism to cover millions in state costs associated with coverage expansion. Hospitals make quarterly payments to the Commonwealth as part of the assessment arrangement, and are the only health care sector partner making this substantial investment to fund health care access.
  • To address the growing demand for voluntary and involuntary behavioral health treatment needs, Virginia hospitals are investing to add more than 160 new inpatient psychiatric beds for adult and pediatric patients, as well as working with state officials and community stakeholders to identify solutions to meet community behavioral health treatment needs. These actions follow the development and implementation of Medical Assessment and Screening Guidelines last year. Those guidelines, developed in partnership with the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians, and the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, help enhance timely access to treatment for psychiatric patients by establishing baseline standards for use when evaluating patients who arrive at a hospital emergency department with psychiatric symptoms to determine the proper setting for their care. Virginia hospitals also continue to accept the majority of inpatient admission for voluntary and involuntary psychiatric treatment.
  • Just last week, the VHHA Foundation received confirmation that it has been awarded significant new grant funding to support the implementation of Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs (HVIP) at seven Virginia hospitals. These programs will help provide enhanced hospital-based services and resources to victims of violence in high-crime communities.
  • VHHA and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) are working together on the “Partnering for a Healthy Virginia Initiative” to identify strategies for addressing the social factors that impact public health
  • Virginia hospitals’ focus on health care quality and patient safety has been consistently reflected in positive assessments conducted by outside evaluators. For instance, last fall Virginia was a top three state in nation in the Fall 2018 Hospital Safety Grade scores from the Leapfrog Group. In all, 34 Virginia hospitals received “A” grades from Leapfrog, a national health care patient safety ranking organization that grades hospital efforts to enhance health care quality, safety, and service for patients.
  • Also last year, Virginia earned the “2018 HRET HIIN Quality Award” presented by the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Health Research & Education Trust (HRET). The award recognizes exemplary dedication and leadership in advancing the quality and safety of health care for patients.
  • And in 2017, Virginia was ranked among the top 10 states for health care quality as measured by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
  • After several years of planning, Virginia hospitals and other partners last year entered into a voluntary agreement establishing a comprehensive process for nursing homes throughout the state to assist each other during disasters and emergency events, such as those that require evacuations. That agreement is known as the Long-Term Care Mutual Aid Plan (LTC-MAP).

Virginia Hospital Week was formally recognized in 2015 when then-state Senator John Watkins (R-Powhatan County) sponsored legislation designating the second week of May that year and each subsequent year as “Virginia Hospital Week.”

In recognition of Hospital Week 2019, Virginia Governor Ralph S. Northam issued a formal proclamation that acknowledges many of the contributions made by hospitals in the Commonwealth.

The proclamation reads, in part: “Virginia Hospital Week celebrates men and women who improve the health of their communities through compassionate patient care . . . Virginia’s hospitals are dedicated to providing quality care, education, and leadership to their residents and visitors; and . . . Virginia Hospital Week is an opportunity to thank all the dedicated individuals within our hospitals and health systems for their outstanding contributions.”

The full resolution can be read online here.

About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 110 hospitals and 27 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its vision is to achieve excellence in both health care and health. Its vision is through the power of collaboration to be recognized as a driving force behind making Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. Connect with VHHA through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and


Julian Walker
Vice President of Communications
(804) 297-3193 office
(804) 304-7402 mobile

2019 Virginia Hospital Week Proclamation from Governor Ralph Northam