PRESS RELEASE: 2021 Virginia Health Care Conference: Addressing the Needs of Our Workforce and Providing Greater Equity in Health Care
June 3rd, 2021

Media Contact

Nicole Bunce


RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – Moments ago, the 2021 Virginia Health Care Conference concluded, with virtual participation of more than 300 Virginians from around the Commonwealth. This conference featured industry experts, physicians, and other health care professionals to discuss how we can look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and make Virginia more economically competitive by addressing the needs of our workforce and providing greater equity in health care.

The 2021 Virginia Health Care Conference was co-hosted by the Virginia Chamber Foundation, the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, the Virginia Business Coalition on Health, and HR Virginia / Virginia SHRM State Council.

“Perhaps this year more than ever, we are reminded of the strength and resilience of our health care industry and the important role health care workers play in keeping Virginia moving,” said Virginia Chamber President & CEO Barry DuVal.” While the pandemic has presented Virginia’s health care industry with many challenges, it has also provided the Commonwealth with a glimpse of the industry’s future. The industry’s response to the pandemic has included a more rapid deployment of existing telemedicine technologies—making distance health care increasingly more plausible and laid-bare areas for increased resiliency.”

“In March of 2020, SAIC quickly shifted to a remote work environment when possible and focused on three priorities: protecting our employees’ health and safety, supporting our customers, and helping our communities” said SAIC CEO & Blueprint Virginia 2030 Co-Chair Nazzic Keene. “This past year has only reenforced how critical healthcare is for all families, communities, and companies.”

This signature event fostered key discussions that will lay the groundwork for the Virginia Chamber’s next strategic plan, Blueprint Virginia 2030.  To foster statewide engagement in the policy development process, registered attendees were provided the opportunity to participate in the Blueprint Virginia 2030 Health Care Conference Survey. Below you will find highlights of the initial survey results. 

“Virginia is headed in the right direction regarding health care issues.”

  • 10% Strongly Agree
  • 51% Agree
  • 27% Neutral
  • 10% Disagree
  • 2% Strongly Disagree

“What are the most effective approaches employers can take to improve the health and wellness of their workforce? Rank the importance for each.”

  • # 1 – Incentives such as cash bonuses for improved health
  • # 2 – Robust wellness plan
  • # 3 – Advanced communication strategy to drive adoption

“What is the most significant barrier to health coverage for uninsured Virginians?”

  • 74% Affordability
  • 8% Process of enrollment
  • 6% Lack of options
  • 12% Other

“Employer-sponsored health insurance is a critically important avenue for many Virginia workers to access health coverage.”

  • 94% Agree
  • 0% Disagree
  • 0% I Don’t Know
  • 6% Other

“Federal health care reform efforts should provide more flexibility to states to develop quality, access, and cost solutions.”

  • 80% Agree
  • 2% Disagree
  • 11% I Don’t Know
  • 7% Other

“Virginia should continue to support efforts that invest in and promote growth in the health care and life sciences industries in the Commonwealth. Examples of this include economic development activities, research and development, and commercialization support.”

  • 87% Agree
  • 0% Disagree
  • 7% I Don’t Know
  • 7% Other

“As an employer/provider, do you plan to encourage/promote the use of telemedicine?”

  • 68% More than before the pandemic
  • 32% About the same
  • 0% Less than before the pandemic

Additional Highlights from Conference Include: (listed in order of appearance)

Featured Keynote Speakers and Special Remarks:

Pete Haytaian, Executive Vice President and President, Commercial & Specialty Business Division, Anthem, Inc.

Alan Witt, CEO Emeritus, PBMares / Executive in Residence, Luter School of Business Christopher Newport University and Chair, Virginia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

Nazzic Keene, CEO, SAIC and Co-Chair, Blueprint Virginia 2030

Dr. Deborah Sesok-Pizzini, Chief Medical Officer, Labcorp Diagnostics


Panel Discussion: COVID-19’s Impact on the Future of Health Care

Moderated by: Sean Connaughton, President & CEO, Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association


Bill Downey, CEO, Riverside Health System

Dr. J. Stephen Jones, President & CEO, Inova Health System

Dr. K. Craig Kent, CEO, UVA Health

Faraaz Yousuf, President, Richmond Market, Bon Secours Mercy Health


Panel Discussion: How We Can Achieve Greater Equity in Health Care

Moderated by: Karin Addison, Director, State Affairs, Troutman Pepper Strategies


Courtney Christian, Senior Director of Policy and Research, PhRMA

Iris J. Lundy, MHL, BSN, RN, CHOP, Director, Health Equity, Sentara Healthcare

Dr. Christina Stasiuk, Market Medical Executive – Mid-Atlantic Region, Cigna

Maria Harris Tildon, Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs, CareFirst BlueCross and BlueShield


Panel Discussion: Addressing the Health Care and Wellness Needs of our Workforce

Moderated by: Mason Shea, Principal, Mercer


Dr. John Phipps, CEO, OrthoVirginia

Dr. James Thompson, Founder and Chief Medical Officer of the Master Center for Addiction Medicine and President, Virginia Chapter of the American Society for Addiction Medicine

Karen C. Velkey, Corporate Vice President, Compensation & Benefits, Huntington Ingalls Industries

Dr. Patrice Weiss, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Carilion Clinic

The full program for the 2021 Virginia Health Care Conference can be found here.