UVA Health continues statewide expansion with Riverside partnership

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UVA Health on Tuesday announced a partnership with Riverside Health System, the latest move in the academic health system’s efforts to form a statewide network.

Charlottesville, Virginia-based UVA Health will acquire a 5% ownership stake in Newport News, Virginia-based Riverside, which operates four acute-care hospitals and a behavioral health hospital, as well as a physical rehabilitation hospital and a critical illness recovery hospital in partnership with Select Medical.

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The affiliation will broaden UVA Health’s referral network to eastern Virginia, while Riverside will receive financial and clinical resources from UVA Health. Riverside will also grow its graduate medical education programs, particularly in internal medicine, UVA Health CEO Craig Kent said in an interview.

UVA Health will help develop a clinical trial unit in eastern Virginia aimed at increasing access to new treatment, and the academic health system will help Riverside physicians deliver more complex care in the region, he said. He did not offer specifics about the financial resources on offer.

“UVA Health has some fairly strong tertiary and quaternary programs in cardiovascular, cardiothoracic, transplant, neurological and oncology care, and our partnership with Riverside will provide an opportunity for patients to have access to that level of care,” Kent said. “We will be able to perform some care locally at Riverside, with the very complex cases referred to UVA Health.”

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The partnership builds on an existing relationship between the two health systems that started in 2005 with the launch of a stereotactic radiosurgery center in Newport News. Under the agreement, UVA Health and Riverside will retain their existing governance and administrative structures.

UVA Health, a roughly $4 billion health system with four acute-care hospitals, has been expanding its acute-care network beyond its central Virginia headquarters since 2021, when it acquired Novant Health’s ownership stake in a three-hospital joint venture predominantly covering northeast Virginia. The academic health system has since grown its clinical affiliations with Lynchburg, Virginia-based Centra Health and Roanoke, Virginia-based Carilion Clinic, which both refer complex care to UVA Health’s specialists.

“UVA Health is excited about having a statewide reach, and potentially a multi-state reach eventually,” said Kent, adding that UVA Health is in conversation with organizations in Virginia and beyond. “With this relationship, we are truly statewide.”

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