Big health care systems expand, launch fundraisers
In the year since Bon Secours Health System merged with Mercy Health, the Cincinnati-based hospital group has expanded its holdings in Virginia, where it now owns and operates 12 hospitals.
In January, Bon Secours Mercy Health acquired three hospitals: the 300-bed Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg, the 105-bed Southampton Memorial Hospital in Franklin and the 80-bed Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center in Emporia, sold by Tennessee-based Community Health Systems Inc., which is now out of Virginia’s health care market completely.
Northern Virginia’s largest nonprofit employer, Inova Health System, also made big changes this year. Its Inova Center for Personalized Health campus on the former Exxon Mobil property in Merrifield got off to a major start in May 2019 with the opening of the $150 million Inova Schar Cancer Institute. President and CEO Dr. Stephen Jones has made some changes in the 117-acre campus’s original focus, announcing in November that Inova Strategic Investments, a venture capital program, and the Inova Personalized Health Accelerator, an incubator for health care startups, would shut down in December.
In a statement, Jones said that the health system’s new strategic focus is on patient care. However, some original elements of the campus remain, including the Global Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Institute, a collaboration between Inova, George Mason University and the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine. Scientists there will conduct research on genetics, bioengineering, biology and genomics. The building is under construction now, and in addition to more academic and research space, the campus will offer housing, retail and hotels in the future. Inova predicts the campus will generate $1.18 billion in economic impact by 2035.
In the Roanoke region, Carilion Clinic launched fundraising last November for its $100 million Carilion Clinic Cancer Center on the Virginia Tech Carilion Health Sciences and Technology campus, which was started with a $1 million donation by Carilion President and CEO Nancy Howell Agee and her husband, U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge G. Steven Agee. The cancer center is part of $1 billion in total capital improvements over the next seven years, the health care system says.
Roanoke Memorial Hospital will receive a $300 million expansion expected to take five years, plus $200 million in new equipment, and Carilion has said that it will spend more than $6 billion on staffing during the expansion. According to a Carilion-commissioned study by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, the nonprofit health system generated more than $3.2 billion in economic impact and 24,000 jobs in the state in fiscal year 2018.
In other health care news last year, more than 382,000 Virginia adults enrolled in Medicaid after state expansion went into effect Jan. 1, 2019, according to the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services. In addition to improving health care access, the expansion also is expected to reduce state hospitals’ uncompensated care costs, which amounted to $1.12 billion in 2017, or 5.9% of hospitals’ total operating costs, according to a Virginia Commonwealth University study released last July. The study predicted that uncompensated care costs could decline by $290 million to $480 million, based on other states’ results from Medicaid expansion.
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