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VCU presents plan for free-standing children’s hospital

6/11/2013, 10:54 a.m.
A new proposal represents the next phase of a multi-year plan for the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center to advance ...

— A new proposal represents the next phase of a multi-year plan for the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center to advance children’s health. Announced on June 11, the plan includes a proposed model for a new, free-standing children’s hospital.

According to health system representatives, it is "built on a solid foundation of top pediatric talent, comprehensive pediatric health programs and facilities dedicated to the unique needs of children."

“It is important to move forward with a vision for a hospital dedicated to children that will forever strengthen VCU's commitment to pediatric education and research and address the overall health of children in the region and the state," said Michael Rao, Ph.D., president of VCU and the VCU Health System. "In addition, leadership has listened to parents, pediatric physicians and others who feel it is important to build a free-standing hospital wholly dedicated to children.”

While there are many details yet to be determined through continued collaboration with physicians and the community, the proposed model includes a free-standing children’s hospital with an open medical staff, its own management structure and its own governing board with community representation. The new hospital would still be part of the VCU Medical Center, and any hospital profits would be reinvested back into children’s services.

“The proposed new Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU offers a sustainable model for children’s health care that is accessible to all children and ensures that the community will continue to benefit from the VCU Medical Center’s training of the future pediatric workforce and investments in pediatric research,” said Dr. Sheldon Retchin, CEO, VCU Health System. “Since joining together with Children’s Hospital on Brook Road in 2010 to form Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, we have been moving toward the vision by investing in high caliber pediatric specialists and staff, developing multidisciplinary, coordinated programs and services, and designing facilities to support children’s health."

Funding for the project is expected to include health system cash reserves, financing and philanthropic support from the community through the Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU leaders have launched a series of community meetings and notes they will continue to meet with parents, physicians and other community members to review the proposed model and gather input. Eventually, a certificate of public need would have to be filed with the state and approved before construction begins. Potential sites for the new facility will be explored with input from the community before selecting a final location.