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June 28, 2012

Statement on Supreme Court healthcare ruling from R. Edward Howell, Vice President and CEO of UVA Medical Center

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We are continuing to review today’s Supreme Court ruling, and it will take some time to fully analyze what the decision will mean for the University of Virginia Medical Center and the patients we serve across the Commonwealth. Today’s decision does provide some certainty regarding the future of healthcare, which will allow us to plan appropriately for how we will care for our patients. However, comments today from our federal and state leaders suggest we have not yet seen the end of the legislative discussion about healthcare, and it is clear that the public has a wide range of views on the appropriate solutions.

As we sort through these issues, our missions at UVA Medical Center remain the same: Provide high-quality patient care to all Virginians, train tomorrow’s healthcare professionals and advance healthcare through research. We know we must also continue our efforts to improve quality while providing cost-effective care to those we serve.

We can expect many more rules and regulations to be debated and issued in the coming months and years ahead. Many of the details of how the law will be implemented remain to be worked out, and many difficult decisions still have to be made. We agree with the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association that changes to how healthcare is delivered and paid for are still needed to ensure patients here in Charlottesville and across the country can access high-quality, efficient care.

Often, new regulations impact academic medical centers such as UVA differently than other hospitals and sometimes have unintended consequences. As we move closer to 2014 and full implementation of this law, we hope to continue to have the opportunity to share our perspective with state and federal policymakers.

One key area we know must be addressed now is the growing physician shortage, which will be amplified in the coming years as more Americans receive health insurance. The Supreme Court’s decision underscores the importance of investing in our nation’s medical schools and residency programs now. Waiting until after 2014 will increase the problem and make it more difficult for patients to get the care they need.

We look forward to working with our state and federal government leaders to implement the provisions of the healthcare law upheld today while addressing new challenges that arise from the decision. We also commend the Virginia Secretary of Health for preparing Virginia to be able to implement the law during this period of uncertainty regarding its legality.

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