Riverside Health System Strengthens Relationship with VCU Health System

March 11, 2020

Newport News, Va. - In an effort to enhance the quality and comprehensive nature of care offered to residents of Eastern Virginia, Riverside Health System and VCU Health System have agreed to a partnership that will bring to life several clinical, research and education initiatives. The health systems have identified several areas of mutual commitment and interest, allowing a great deal of opportunity for future engagements and discussions.

"Riverside is a large health system that already provides very high-caliber primary, secondary and tertiary care to hundreds of thousands of patients each year,” said Riverside's President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Mike Dacey. “This partnership with VCU Health System will further advance our ability to offer advanced clinical services more locally and provide a more seamless experience of care for patients who require referral outside of our system.”

Additionally, Riverside patients will benefit from enhanced access to clinical trials and medical research via VCU’s nationally renowned research enterprise that involves all medical specialties. Riverside also plans to work with VCU Health System to grow our existing medical education programs at both the medical school and residency levels of training to help address the growing physician shortage within the region and the United States.”

With the commitment to support health care within its service area, VCU Health System also intends to acquire Riverside Tappahannock Hospital and related services, including the Riverside physician practices located in Tappahannock, Warsaw, King William, and Callao.

“Historically, residents in this area have had to travel as far as Richmond to receive levels of care that cannot be provided locally at our Tappahannock-area facilities due to the high level of specialization needed,” Dacey said. “VCU Health System’s acquisition of the Riverside resources in Tappahannock will improve the overall experience of care for patients in that region.”

Rural hospitals thrive when there is a secure connection to specialized services provided by a more extensive network. The acquisition will provide Tappahannock, Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula residents with seamless access to the full range of advanced health care services offered by the VCU Health System, including a broader range of medical specialists, clinical trials and state-of-the-art technology.

“Our mission is about preserving and restoring health for all Virginians and we advance this by innovation in health care service, education and research,” said Dr. Peter Buckley, interim CEO of VCU Health System and senior vice president of VCU Health Sciences. “We are delighted to align with Riverside, an outstanding health care organization, to collectively bring the best we have to our combined communities.”

Riverside CEO Bill Downey noted, “having these two highly respected independent health systems work together will not only improve the care provided in our communities, it will also strengthen both Riverside and VCU Health System for the long run.”

“We are honored to have the opportunity to work together with Riverside Health System, to build on one another’s programs and expertise, and through Tappahannock Hospital to initiate these opportunities as we look forward to becoming an integral part of the community there,” said Melinda Hancock, chief administrative and financial officer for VCU Health System. “We have a successful track record of helping rural communities thrive by keeping their health care local as much as possible and providing the direct access to the highly specialized care at VCU Medical Center when essential.”

Both parties agree that the two health systems are aligned in strategy and mission, with a focus on the health of the community, clinical growth and access, and commitments to research and education.

Riverside and VCU Health System are strong both clinically and financially, making this the perfect time to strengthen the alliance and meet the needs of this community.

"We believe the affiliation with VCU Health System will be an evolutionary next step for health care in the communities we serve, optimizing patient care and expanding access at the right place, at the right time to achieve the right outcome," Dacey said. “Riverside intends to remain an independent, locally focused, not-for-profit health system, now strengthened by an affiliation with a world-class academic medical center.”

The next steps will include discussions involving leaders from both organizations to prioritize and plan how to best work together and how VCU Health System and Riverside will invest long-term in joint services.