State hospitals fear financial problems could lead to closings, job losses

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association says things are getting worse for the state’s hospitals from a financial standpoint.

And if something isn’t done soon, we could see hospitals closing, cuts in services, and thousands of job losses.

Two and a half weeks ago 21-kids suffered minor injuries when a school bus ran off the road in Augusta County.

“I was really worried, because I was thinking I couldn’t get to the scene fast enough, what if something had happened to him,” said parent Shawn Graham.

“Over 20 children, the bus driver, were brought into the emergency room of Augusta Health,” said Mary Mannix, CEO of Augusta Health.

Mannix says their team was ready.

“It was really a beautiful moment in helping people in the most vulnerable time,” said Mannix.

But Mannix says she’s concerned her hospitals won’t be as prepared in the future if financial costs aren’t brought down. Mannix joined leaders from hospitals across the state Wednesday to announce a campaign to educate the public on how serious the financial problems are for hospitals in Virginia.

“There’s a problem and that problem is only going to get worse,” said James Cole, CEO of Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington.

TV, radio, and print ads will be shown throughout the state, but the group stopped just short of saying Medicaid expansion would ultimately be the solution.

“There’s no silver bullet and we’re not prepared to say, if we only do this, it fixes everything,” said Cole.

“We want citizens to have a hospital within 20 miles of where they live and so we will work very hard to keep all of our hospitals open,” said Toni Ardabell, CEO of Bon Secours Richmond.

Ardabell says they’ve closed hospitals in other states and will do what they have to stay alive for as many patients as possible.

The group has not offered specific solutions. They say the point of the campaign is to start a dialogue but do plan on having some ideas they believe will help by the next General Assembly session.

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