VCU statement about the Commonwealth Poll

The university is dedicated to supporting academic freedom, even in instances in which it disagrees with content.

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The university is dedicated to supporting academic freedom, even in instances in which it disagrees with content. In this case, the Jan. 22, 2024, VCU Wilder School Commonwealth Poll’s questions about VCU Health produced results that are skewed.

The questions about VCU Health rely on a questionable sample size – approximately 100 people, and often fewer. Additionally, the questions, for some reason, lack full context about the issue, unfortunately preventing respondents from making informed choices.

(Full poll results are available here, VCU Health questions are questions 20-24) 

Nevertheless, the university did not stand in the way of the Wilder School releasing its poll. However, anyone who reads the poll should closely scrutinize its methodology and conclusions.

In reality, VCU Health has broadly shared the circumstances, facts and outcomes about the Clay Street project, including the two independent, external reviews it commissioned. One was a forensic study of the project’s beginnings and ending. The second was a review and recommendations for best practices for governance.

Both reviews were made public. Further, VCU Health is fully cooperating with the General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission’s (JLARC) review of VCU Health. We look forward to its report.

Clay Street was an anomaly, as recent history has seen VCU and VCU Health successfully open complex new facilities including the Adult Outpatient Pavilion, new tower for the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Engineering and STEM buildings, just to name a few. Those four projects alone represent more than $1 billion in successful construction efforts.

In the same timeframe, VCU Health successfully sold its Virginia Premier health plan with proceeds exceeding $300 million. 

As it voted unanimously to begin the Clay Street project, the VCU Health Board of Directors voted unanimously to end the project. Exiting the project meant avoiding far greater financial problems in the future. This is evidenced by a recent Aa3 bond credit rating from Moody's, which is a testament to VCU Health's financial strength and decision making. This rating places VCU Health in the top 20 percent of health systems with an AA rating.

S&P recently affirmed VCU Health with a AA- credit rating.

As reported last year, VCU Health is in a strong financial position that allows it to provide expert, compassionate care to all of the important communities it serves.  Following two years of budgets challenged by the effects of the pandemic, already in 2023-24, VCU Health has earned a positive operating margin of $86.9 million.