Ed Gillespie addresses hospital leaders (L-R) Centra Health President and CEO E.W. Tibbs Jr., Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie, Sheltering Arms Hospital President and CEO Mary Zweifel (Courtesy photo)


The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association yesterday hosted a statewide candidate health care forum featuring gubernatorial candidates Ed Gillespie (R) and Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam (D), as well as Justin Fairfax, the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor. The forum, sponsored by VHHA’s Hospital Political Action Committee and held at VHHA offices in Henrico County, presented an opportunity for the candidates to engage with
members of the hospital community and share their views on some of the pressing health care issues facing the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the nation.
 
“A stable health care system is an essential element of a productive, healthy society. As members of the health care community, we value exchanging ideas with elected officials and candidates for public office,” said E.W. Tibbs Jr., the President and CEO of Centra Health care System, a VHHA Board Member, and the 2017 HosPAC Campaign Chairman. “We also appreciate opportunities to provide those seeking election to leadership positions in government with insight about the many economic and public contributions community hospitals and health systems make across the Commonwealth. We sincerely thank Ed Gillespie, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, and Justin Fairfax for devoting some time during a busy campaign season to address members of the health care community.”
 
“The health care community includes tens of thousands of people who work in hospitals and health systems and millions of patients and their families who have received compassionate care in a hospital setting,” said VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “People are keenly interested in learning about the health care views of candidates for public office who, if elected, could have significant influence on critical policy issues. Today’s forum provided the candidates with a venue to share their health care views with a broader health care audience, and we are grateful for their participation.”
 
Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie is a consultant from Northern Virginia who served as White House Counselor to former U.S. President George W. Bush and is a past Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia and

Ralph Northam addresses hpspital leaders (L-R) Sentara Healthcare Vice President of Government Relations and Health Policy Paul Speidell, Inova Health System Vice President of Government Relations Jennifer Siciliano, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (Courtesy Photo)


the Republican National Committee. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ralph Northam, MD, is a pediatric neurologist from Hampton Roads, U.S. Army veteran, former Virginia state Senator, and Virginia’s current Lieutenant Governor. Justin Fairfax, the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor, is a Northern Virginia attorney who previously served as a federal prosecutor, and who ran for Virginia Attorney General in 2013. Virginia state Senator Jill Vogel, a Fauquier County attorney, is the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor. In the other statewide Virginia race this year, incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring of Loudoun County, a Democrat and former Virginia state Senator, is being challenged by Republican nominee John Adams, a U.S. Navy veteran, former federal prosecutor, and attorney from Chesterfield County. Vogel and Herring were unable to attend
today’s event but are each scheduled to meet with hospital leaders and health care stakeholders this month.
 

Justin Fairfax addresses hospital leaders. (L-R) Centra Health President and CEO E.W. Tibbs Jr., Sheltering Arms Hospital President and CEO Mary Zweifel, Vibra Hospital of Richmond CEO Linda Tiemens, Democratic Lieutenant Governor nominee Justin Fairfax, Health South Rehabilitation Hospital of Fredericksburg CEO David Cashwel (Courtesy Photo)


Elected state leaders and policymakers have a strong voice in decisions that can impact Virginia’s local hospitals and health systems and the millions of patients they serve. Virginia’s hospital community makes substantial contributions to public well-being and the Commonwealth’s economy. Hospitals provide essential health services to the public , treat patients regardless of ability to pay, and support countless community programs that promote health care access and public health. In 2015, Virginia’s hospitals provided more than $2.9 billion in community support to the Commonwealth. Local hospitals and health systems are also economic cornerstones that directly provide more than 125,000 jobs, and generate nearly $40 billion in economic activity. However, market conditions, unfunded government mandates, and uncompensated care burdens continue to strain our health care delivery system in ways that could negatively impact health care access and our economy. Despite these challenges, hospitals remain committed to serving community medical needs.
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