VHHA Holds Tenth Annual Virginia Patient Safety Summit as a Virtual Forum; Audience of 1,100 is the Largest Ever for a VHHA Event

February 25, 2021

Support for Event Celebrating Patient Safety is Provided by the Medical Society of Virginia, the Virginia Nurses Association, the Virginia Pharmacists Association, Member Health Systems, and Other Partners

RICHMOND, VA – Today (Thursday, Feb. 25), the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) and the VHHA Center for Healthcare Excellence are hosting the tenth annual Virginia Patient Safety Summit. This year’s Patient Safety Summit – one of the nation’s premier patient safety and quality conferences – has attracted more than 1,100 attendees from hospitals, health systems, and other care settings, as well as other industry experts and thought leaders. That represents the largest recorded registration for an event in VHHA’s 95-year history.

While this year’s Summit is being held virtually rather than in-person due to COVID-19 safety considerations, the presence of the pandemic has not dampened enthusiasm for the event, which has accumulated 1,154 total registrants. A program brochure, list of program sponsors, and other resources are available online here. Additional program materials, including video presentations from Summit speakers, and video messages from Virginia Governor Ralph S. Northam and members of the Virginia General Assembly (Delegates Hala Ayala, Kathy Byron, Betsy Carr, Carrie Coyner, Glenn Davis, Wendy Gooditis, Dan Helmer, Schuyler VanValkenburg, and Rodney Willett, and Senators Siobhan Dunnavant, Ghazala Hashmi, Jen Kiggans, and Jennifer McClellan) to Summit participants will be posted online following today’s event.

The theme for the Summit is “Celebrating Ten Years of Excellence” and it recognizes continuing efforts by Virginia hospitals, health systems, and VHHA to enhance patient safety and excellence. Topics to be addressed during the event include clinician burnout, patient safety in the age of COVID-19, and the future of patient and worker safety. Keynote speakers for the Summit include Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, MD, CAPT, USPHS, the Associate Director for Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Programs in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases; and J. Bryan Sexton, PhD, Associate Professor and Director with the Duke Center for Healthcare Safety and Quality at Duke University Health System.

As part of the program, the VHHA Center for Healthcare Excellence is also proud to present the “Imagine A Virginia” Senior Leader Quality and Patient Safety award to Dr. Michael P. McDermott, the President and CEO of Fredericksburg-based Mary Washington Healthcare and the Immediate Past Chairman of VHHA’s Board of Directors. The award recognizes Dr. McDermott for his exceptional leadership, including his unwavering support for VHHA’s declaration of 2020 as the “Year of Patient Experience” and the associated yearlong programming and learning sessions facilitated by the Association to further emphasize the importance of efforts to enhance patient experience and safety in the Commonwealth’s hospitals and health systems.

“It is wonderful to see such strong attendance for this year’s Patient Safety Summit,” said Steve Arner, Carilion Clinic Chief Operating Officer and Chairman of the VHHA Board of Directors. “This level of engagement is a testament to the importance of enhancing patient care and experience. It also shows the resilience and commitment to excellence of our health care team members who have bravely battled the pandemic under difficult circumstances for the past year.”

Added VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton: “Although the past year has been especially challenging due to the virulent COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia’s hospitals and health systems and their dedicated team members have capably responded to the outbreak while remaining focused on our shared goal of making the Commonwealth the healthiest state in the nation. Health care quality, patient safety, and patient experience improvement efforts are central to that work. In support of its members, VHHA is proud to help facilitate collaborative patient safety efforts that make a real difference in people’s lives. And we are thrilled to be hosting the tenth annual Virginia Patient Safety Summit, which has drawn a record crowd.”

“The past 10 years have taken us on a rewarding journey lined with patient safety improvement benchmarks achieved through the collaborative efforts of Virginia hospitals,” said VHHA Vice President of Quality and Safety Abraham Segres. “This year’s Summit is an opportunity to celebrate the gains made and to sharpen our focus on the work still to be done on the journey to zero harm in partnership with our member hospitals, health systems, their team members, and other stakeholders who are committed to providing high-quality, safe, and effective care to patients.”

The Virginia Patient Safety Summit traces its roots to 2011 when VHHA successfully pursued legislation in the Virginia General Assembly recognizing each Feb. 2 as “Virginia Patient Safety Day.” The Association and its members are dedicated to the mission of enhancing health care quality and patient safety to make Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. And that work has earned plaudits. Even in challenging times, Virginia continues to receive recognition for top performance in emergency preparedness, patient safety, and health care quality. For instance, Virginia tied for second among states in overall emergency preparedness rating in the 2020 National Health Security Preparedness Index report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Colorado School of Public Health. And in the Trust for America’s Health – Ready or Not 2020 Annual Report on Emergency Preparedness, Virginia is among the states rated in the highest tier for emergency preparation. Virginia also ranked among the top six states for patient safety in the Fall 2020 Hospital Safety Grade scores from the Leapfrog Group, a national health care patient safety ranking organization. That continues a trend of Virginia being 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.

The VHHA Center for Healthcare Excellence extends its sincere thanks to valued Summit sponsors and partners, including the Medical Society of Virginia, the Virginia Nurses Association, the Virginia Pharmacists Association, Ballad Health, Bon Secours, CareView, Carilion Clinic, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, Children’s National Health System, Inova, Novant Health UVA Health System, Sentara Healthcare, UVA Health, Valley Health, VCU Health, the Virginia Chapter of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management, and the Virginia Society of Health System Pharmacists.

About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 110 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, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


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