VCU Health System open to talks on independent, free-standing children’s hospital

3/19/2014, 3:22 p.m.

The Virginia Commonwealth University Health System Authority Board has authorized senior management to enter into formal discussions with interested parties that could lead to an independent, free-standing children’s hospital in Richmond.

The board took this action following more than a year of extensive study and due diligence of VCU Health System owned-and-operated models as well as alternative models for a free-standing children’s hospital.

“Discussions with interested parties over the past few months have led to the real potential for an independent, free-standing children’s hospital that supports our inviolate missions of patient care, medical education and research,” said Michael Rao, VCU and VCU Health System president and chair. “We are ready to take the discussions to the next level toward a community-based children’s hospital that enhances pediatric medical education, pediatric research and advances children’s health care in Central Virginia and beyond.”

VCU Health System management last year presented its own plans for a free-standing children’s hospital. In consideration of that proposal, the authority board also expressed openness to continue participation in a community-led dialogue about feasible alternatives for a community solution for a free-standing children’s hospital where the VCU Health System is not the sole owner or operator.

“Today’s decision reflects VCU’s ongoing commitment to advancing children’s health and a promise to our esteemed pediatric faculty and staff to be national leaders in pediatric medical education and research with facilities dedicated to the unique needs of children and their families,” said Dr. Sheldon Retchin, VCU Health System CEO and VCU vice president for health sciences.

VCU Health System management conducted a community outreach process that involved more than 600 community stakeholders; internal and third-party financial, strategic and operational reviews and discussions with area health care providers and the philanthropic community.

“As chair of the Strategic Advisory Committee responsible for leading much of the outreach and assessment process, I commend my fellow committee members for countless hours they volunteered to consider all options and engage in dialogue with the community,” said William Ginther, VCU Health System board member and VCU Board of Visitors rector. “This truly has been a labor of love, not just for VCU but also for the broader Richmond community as we continue to work together to identify the best way to advance children’s health.”