RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Following a recent New York Times investigation into Bon Secours, Virginia leaders proposed a bill to increase financial transparency with hospitals. On Thursday, Jan. 26, the bill was rejected by the Republican-led panel.
According to the New York Times investigation, sources claimed that Bon Secours had been profiting from a federal prescription drug discount program exclusive to hospitals in low-income communities. The 340B Drug Discount Program was intended to fund reinvestments in low-income facilities. However, Bon Secours, instead of reinvesting in Richmond Community Hospital, was keeping hundreds of millions in profits, according to the investigation.
“To suggest that we don’t operate in full support of our important Mission is without merit and we take issue with such baseless allegations,” Bon Secours said in a statement soon after the report was released.
Other local leaders — including Mayor Levar Stoney and Second Baptist Church Pastor Ralph Hodge — called for action immediately following the release of the investigation.
According to Del. Kathy Tran (D-Fairfax), House Bill 2472 was “simple” in that it would require hospitals to “disclose certain information about its 340B Drug Pricing Program savings and the use of such savings.”
“Our communities deserve transparency,” Tran said. “If the story and the narrative is a strong one — that you are investing and reinvesting the funds as intended into the local community — then you shouldn’t be afraid to lay your cards out and have that conversation publicly.”
Bon Secours has continued to deny the allegations, claiming they have invested $8 million in Richmond’s East End and $10 million in capital improvements to Richmond Community Hospital.
“We take those savings, and we reinvest them in the communities we serve. It’s that simple, and we do it day in and day out,” a Bon Secours representative told lawmakers.
8News requested a one-on-one interview with the representative today but did not receive a response.
The bill was rejected in a House Subcommittee vote of 3-2 — with one committee member not voting. Moving forward, Tran hopes the public conversation about transparency within hospitals continues.
“We must recognize that if we’re not maximizing our investment into our local communities to improve health care, that affects all of us,” Tan said.