Our Request for an Interview with Sentara Board Chair Calderone is Denied

(This post has been updated with Sentara responses in in paragraph 6.)

Since we received a tip last month that Sentara Healthcare wanted to change its relationship with Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) to the detriment of the residents of Hampton Roads, Virginia, we’ve learned a lot. One is the suspicious timing of Sentara’s announcement on August 12 of a $11.5B merger with Cone Health. Second, is a “study,” largely funded by Sentara, that appears to dismantle EVMS, to which the board responded to with a vote of no confidence.

This morning, we awoke to find another interesting tip submitted last evening.

It seems the plot is already thicker than it appeared in Sentara’s push to get EVMS’s operating costs covered by Virginia taxpayers. A growing number of people see the move as crucial to Sentara’s push for an $11.5B merger in January.

Here is the key excerpt from the tip as we received it:

“I have a family member who works at EVMS and am active in the Hampton Roads community. Heard from several connected friends today that Sentara is having its board leader, Dian Calderone lead an effort to pressure the EVMS board into flipping its vote. They are going around to local officials trying to win back support. Northam’ s siding with Sentara if the EVMS board can be flipped to protect him.”

The reader submitted the tip anonymously. However, we note that ReInvent Hampton Roads hid the presence on its board of Sentara’s CEO from those who were asked to pay for the study ReInvent commissioned on the matter. For us, that is enough to err on the side of investigating this further.

We reached out to Sentara Healthcare about Ms. Calderone’s activities. On Dec. 4th, Sentara Spokesperson Danya P. Bushey responded by email:  “This is not true.” On Dec. 10th, Sentara Corporate Communications Advisor Brittany Vajda denied our request to speak with Calderone. 

We’ll also seek to clarify what the Governor’s position is on this emerging controversy.

Stay tuned.


Do you have information to share? Send us a note through our confidential tip line.


Scott Peterson is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, an investigative watchdog blog holding government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP is provided by Renew American Prosperity and individual donors.


You may also want to read:

Top Northam Aide: Virginia Governor Won’t Accept Sentara’s Push to Offload EVMS onto Taxpayers

Records Suggest Sentara Pushing EVMS Funding Onto Virginia Taxpayers To Ease $11.5B Merger

Will Sentara Healthcare’s Expansion Plans Hurt Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Ability to Serve Southeast Virginia?