May 3, 2013

Mountain States Health Alliance, Vanderbilt announce strategic affiliation

The leaders of Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) announced Friday that the two organizations have signed an affiliation agreement that will benefit MSHA, VUMC and the residents of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

“We are pleased to announce this mutual affiliation between Vanderbilt and MSHA,” said Dennis Vonderfecht, president and CEO of MSHA. “This announcement represents the culmination of a three-year search process that MSHA leadership has undertaken, driven by the rapid changes taking place in our health care industry today. As part of our 10-year strategic plan, we have been diligently seeking a partner outside of our region who shares our vision for the future as well as our culture of quality and cost effectiveness. We believe we have found that partner in Vanderbilt University Medical Center.”

As part of the affiliation agreement, VUMC will assist with recruitment of hard-to-find specialists and subspecialists to serve the Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia area. VUMC also brings to the table a number of evidence-based care models that will help MSHA to enhance the care of patients with certain diagnoses like diabetes, heart disease and asthma.

“Evidence-based care models allow us to consistently provide the highest-quality care across the entire continuum,” said Morris Seligman, M.D., MSHA’s chief medical officer. “These care models apply not just in the hospital, but in outpatient and home care settings as well. This allows us to ensure that we’re giving each patient the care they need not just to recover from an episode of illness, but to effectively manage their conditions so that they stay well all the time.”

An internationally-renowned research institution, VUMC will also bring to MSHA’s service area a number of clinical trials that have the potential to benefit patients while making significant advances in medical research.

“We share a common goal to improve services while reducing costs during a time of challenge created by national health care reform. Our affiliation with Mountain States Health Alliance creates greater opportunity for both institutions to fulfill important objectives for those we serve, forming the framework for Vanderbilt to collaborate with like-minded colleagues to bring patients greater access to a diverse array of clinical and research initiatives,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs for Vanderbilt University and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System. “As nonprofit organizations, we share a common mission to provide the highest-quality care for broad and diverse patient populations. Mountain States is the leader in the delivery of these services throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwestern Virginia. We see this affiliation as a significant step, allowing us to work closely together to achieve positive change.”

The collaborative relationship between MSHA and VUMC is expected to grow and strengthen in future years as each organization finds new ways to provide better care through cooperation. At the outset, however, the two organizations are prepared to:

  • Share best practices in the areas of evidence-based care models;
  • Collaborate in the areas of medical research and clinical trials;
  • Develop consultative relationships among specialists and subspecialists;
  • Work together in the area of physician recruitment to facilitate access, especially to specialty services;
  • Collaborate clinically, with particular emphasis on cardiovascular and oncology services; and
  • Work together to develop a statewide clinically-integrated network to contract with payers for high-quality, efficiently-provided health care services.

“As national health care reform continues to change the landscape of our industry, affiliations like this one will become increasingly important as providers seek to deliver the highest quality care and the best patient experiences at the lowest possible cost,” said Clem Wilkes, MSHA board chairman. “We are proud to have Vanderbilt by our side as we work to become a world-class health care system while continuing in our mission of bringing loving care to health care.”

With the inclusion of Mountain States Health Alliance, VUMC is affiliated with a growing family of like-minded, nonprofit medical centers geographically encompassing much of Tennessee. Other affiliates include: Cookeville Regional Medical Center, Maury Regional Medical Center, NorthCrest Medical Center, West Tennessee Healthcare and Williamson Medical Center.  An academic affiliation is in place between Baptist Memorial Health Care of Memphis and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. All institutions share a common mission to serve the health care needs of the citizens of Tennessee. With Mountain States Health Alliance, this geographic footprint also now extends to encompass serving the health care needs of the citizens of Southwestern Virginia.