Hospital Week is a Time to Celebrate the Many Community, Public Health, and Economic Contributions Hospitals Makes Throughout the State

May 13, 2024

Virginia Hospitals and Their Teams Serve Patients 24/7/365, Invest in Enhancing Mental Health Treatment and Increasing Access to Care, Deliver Strong Performance in Patient Safety, Clinical Excellence, and Emergency Readiness, and Make Key Economic Contributions

RICHMOND, VA – This week (May 12-18, 2024) is National Hospital Week, an annual opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the many contributions hospitals make to support patients, families, communities, and public health.

Virginia is home to more than 100 acute care, children’s, specialty, rehabilitation, psychiatric, critical access, and long-term care hospitals that are there for people at a moment’s notice, no matter the day or time. Hospitals and their dedicated teams of clinicians and caregivers are essential to a thriving society. In addition to delivering direct patient care, hospitals help train future doctors and nurses, support clinical research to produce future treatments and cures, invest in increasing access to care, promote community health and well-being, and strengthen our economy.

In recognition of Hospital Week 2024, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has issued a formal proclamation honoring the work and contributions of Virginia hospitals. The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) has also produced a video highlighting the central role of hospitals in contributing to the communities they serve. Virginia hospitals are leaders in patient safety, clinical excellence, and emergency readiness. They invest in workforce development to prepare future clinicians to meet growing demand for medical care, and in improving the behavioral health system and increasing access to care, all while supporting local and state economies.

“All the work that hospitals do is focused on keeping communities healthy and safe and caring for people so they can reach their full potential,” said VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “When you think about it, hospitals and the clinicians, caregivers, and support staff who keep them running are essential to the fabric of our communities. That is why we invite Virginians to join us this week in saying ‘thank you’ on behalf of a grateful Commonwealth for all the work hospitals and their teams do to care for and protect people in their hour of need.”

Added Michael Elliott, VCU Health Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and Chair of the VHHA Board of Directors: “I’ve had the good fortune to work in several different Virginia hospitals. What I’ve observed across organizations is a strong drive to care for people when they are ill, injured, or vulnerable – a passion for helping preserve and restore quality of life. That spirit informs all that nurses, doctors, pharmacists, psychiatrists, and so many hospital team members do each day, around the clock, to care for communities and patients. This work has a meaningful impact on people’s lives, even if it isn’t always in the limelight. From time to time, it is important to pause and appreciate how hospital teams benefit their communities, which we do during National Hospital Week.”

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 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 Virginia, these are a few examples of how hospitals and their teams work to make the Commonwealth healthy and prosperous:

  • Virginia hospitals provide significant community benefit to the Commonwealth each year. In 2022, hospitals contributed $3.3 billion in community benefit, directly employed more than 124,000 people in good jobs, provided $64.3 billion in positive economic impact, helped deliver more than 88,000 babies, accommodated more than 3 million annual emergency department visits, and handled more than 4 million patient days.
  • Virginia hospitals have been consistently recognized for strong patient safety performance, ranking second overall in the recently released Spring 2024 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 a high-achieving state in the bi-annual Leapfrog rankings: Virginia ranked second among states in the Fall 2023 rankings and the Spring and Fall 2022 rankings, first overall for Fall 2021, fourth in the Spring 2021 ranking, sixth in the Fall 2020 ranking, third in the Fall 2019 ranking, second in the Spring 2019 ranking, third in the Fall 2018 scores, and fifth in the Spring 2018 grading period.
  • Virginia has regularly been listed among states with the highest level of preparation for public health emergencies, including a recent report from Trust for America’s Health: Ready or Not 2024: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism. The report measures state preparedness to respond to public health emergencies such as infectious outbreaks, natural disasters, and manmade events. Previous annual reports from Trust for America’s Health – including those compiled during the lengthy response to the COVID-19 pandemic – also ranked Virginia in the top tier of states in 2023, 2022, 2021, and 2020. Virginia has also been ranked among the top states in the National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI) report that evaluates state readiness to respond to public health emergencies.
  • Each year, Virginia’s hospitals accommodate the overwhelming majority of voluntary and involuntary behavioral health inpatient admissions to care for individuals with mental health and substance use treatment needs. Hospitals have also invested in adding adult and pediatric psychiatric beds to accommodate growing demand for behavioral health care.
  • Virginia hospitals continue to provide hundreds of millions in financial support each year to cover the state’s share of costs to fund Medicaid expansion that has enabled more than 600,000 Virginians to enroll in health coverage since 2019. In 2023, Virginia hospitals contributed more than $490 million to cover the state share of expansion costs.

About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 111 hospitals and 26 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its mission 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, X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok.