VHHA Foundation Hosts Ninth Annual Virginia Patient Safety Summit in Richmond, Attracting Hundreds of Health Care Professionals Dedicated to Advancing Health Care Quality and Safety

February 19, 2020

2020 Virginia Patient Safety Summit Features Keynote Remarks from Dr. Albert Wu, Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Health Care Transformation Leader Dr. Jay Kaplan, and Offers Patient Safety Improvement Insights and Shared Learning Opportunities to Program Participants

RICHMOND, VA – This week, VHHA Foundation and the VHHA Center for Healthcare Excellence present the ninth annual Virginia Patient Safety Summit in downtown Richmond. The two-day event (Feb. 20-21) is one of the premier patient safety and quality conferences in Virginia, attracting hundreds of health care professionals from hospitals and health systems across the Commonwealth, as well as other industry experts and thought leaders. The expected attendance for this year’s Summit is 350 people, a strong level of participation reflecting the health care community’s abiding commitment to enhancing the quality and safety of care for patients.

Topics to be covered during the Summit, which is jointly held by the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association’s (VHHA) Center for Healthcare Excellence and VHHA Foundation (the charitable, non-profit affiliate of VHHA), include infection prevention, staffing for patient safety, building psychologically safe clinical teams, and strategies to improve patient safety and reduce the risk of error.

This year’s program features an exciting lineup of distinguished speakers including Caroline DeLongchamps from the Medical University of South Carolina Health System; Dr. Albert Wu, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; LCMC Health Medical Director of Care Transformation Dr. Jay Kaplan; and Tom Epperson, PhD, of Innerwill Leadership Institute. Other Summit speakers include Dr. Stephen Combs of Ballad Health; and Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver.

During the Summit, recipients of VHHA’s 2020 “Imagine a Virginia” Senior Leader Quality and Safety Award and the “Imagine a Virginia” Distinguished Service Award will also be recognized. The awards will be presented by VCU Health Chief of Strategic Initiatives Deborah W. Davis, the Chair of the VHHA Center for Healthcare Excellence Advisory Council. Award recipients include:

  • Tracey Hoke, Chief of Quality and Performance Improvement at UVA Health System (“Imagine a Virginia” Senior Leader Quality and Safety Award);
  • Jeff DiLisi, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Virginia Hospital Center (“Imagine a Virginia” Senior Leader Quality and Safety Award); and
  • Toni Ardabell, Associate Chief of Clinical Operations at Inova (“Imagine a Virginia” Distinguished Service Award).

Prior to the Summit, a one-day VHHA Quality Intensive will be held on Feb. 19 in Richmond. That pre-conference event will provide participating quality and safety professionals with insights about social determinant of health and how they can lead to care inequities. Featured speakers during this program include Dr. Joseph Betancourt from Massachusetts General Hospital; Derek Chapman, PhD, of the VCU Center on Society and Health; and Dayna Bowen Matthew, PhD, of the University of Virginia School of Law. The Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Health Equity is a sponsor of the VHHA Quality Intensive program.

“One important aspect of the work to make Virginia the healthiest state in the nation is enhancing health care quality and safety for hospital patients,” said VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “That is accomplished through intentional collaboration among hospitals and health systems to focus on best practices and improvement strategies that can be implemented throughout the Commonwealth. Events like the Virginia Patient Safety Summit provide a unique opportunity for clinicians and other health care professionals to come together, share, and learn about successful strategies to enhance patient safety.”

“Ten years ago, Virginia’s hospitals and health systems established a shared strategic goal focused on quality and safety improvement by charting performance on nationally-accepted measures,” said VHHA Vice President of Quality and Safety Abraham Segres. “With support from the VHHA Center for Healthcare Excellence, improvements have been achieved in reducing hospital infection and readmission rates and in elevating patient satisfaction scores. The Virginia Patient Safety Summit is an important part of that continuing work because it helps foster the spirit of collaboration that has led to positive results in hospital-based improvement efforts.”

The origins of the Virginia Patient Safety Summit date to 2011 when VHHA successfully pursued legislation that recognizes each Feb. 2 as “Virginia Patient Safety Day,” which  represents an opportunity to raise awareness about quality and safety initiatives championed by Virginia hospitals and health systems on behalf of the patients they serve. Efforts by Virginia hospitals to improve health care quality and safety are reflected in events like the Virginia Patient Safety Summit, and in national accolades that demonstrate the effectiveness of hospital-based improvement work.

In recent years, Virginia has been nationally ranked as one of the top states on health care quality and patient safety performance in the Leapfrog Group Hospital Safety Grade scores (third overall in the Fall 2019 scores, second overall in the Spring 2019 rankings, and third overall in Fall 2018). The Commonwealth also received recognition as one of the most improved states in the 30th Anniversary edition of the America’s Health Rankings annual report issued by the United Health Foundation, rising from 20th among states in 2018 to 15th in the 2019 edition of the report that assesses an array of health metrics to determine rankings. Virginia earned an “A” grade in the 2019 State-by-State Report Card on Access to Palliative Care in our Nation’s Hospitals from the Center to Advance Palliative Care and the National Palliative Care Research Center. In 2018, VHHA earned the HRET HIIN Quality Award presented by the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Health Research & Education Trust (HRET) in recognition of a state hospital association that demonstrates exemplary dedication and leadership in advancing the quality and safety of health care for patients. And in 2017, Virginia was ranked as a top 10 state for health care safety and quality by the federal government.

VHHA Foundation extends its thanks to valued sponsors and corporate partners – Lumeris, U.S. Acute Care Solutions, and VHHA Shared Services – for their ongoing support. Additional support is being provided by organizations exhibiting at the Summit and event sponsorships from VHHA member health systems including Ballad Health, Bon Secours Mercy Health, Centra, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, Inova, Mary Washington Healthcare, Sentara Healthcare, Southside Regional Medical Center, UVA Health System, and VCU Health.

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 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, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

About VHHA Foundation: The VHHA Foundation, formerly the Virginia Hospital Research & Education Foundation, is the charitable non-profit affiliate of VHHA. Its focus is on improving the health of Virginians through collaboration, research, and education for Virginia’s hospitals and health systems. The foundation provides continuing education programs for Virginia’s health care professionals through conferences, seminars, and webinars. VHHA Foundation also supports research and patient safety and quality programs. Learn more at


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