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Vanderbilt Health Employer Solutions pivots during first year

Jan. 14, 2021, 9:18 AM


by Jamie Roberts

In early 2020, several groups at Vanderbilt University Medical Center were busy planning an in-person event to announce the creation of Vanderbilt Health Employer Solutions, a team designed to provide workforce health and wellness services to businesses of all types and sizes. By March, it was clear that area employers needed a trusted source of information and support to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Within a matter of days, the Employer Solutions team made up of clinical and other professionals from across the enterprise pivoted to do just that.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, VUMC emerged as a leader in combating COVID-19,” said David Posch, Executive Vice President of the Office of Population Health, which includes the Vanderbilt Health Employer Solutions team. “Our researchers were among the first to identify and understand the structure of the coronavirus. Our infectious disease experts were simultaneously planning infection prevention and mitigation strategies for both our patients and employees. And to top it off, VUMC was regularly publishing its insights online for others to learn from and adapt.”

Ryman Hospitality Partners is among the large employers turning to Vanderbilt Health Employer Solutions for guidance during the pandemic. (file photo)

Overnight, the Employer Solutions team launched the Employer Insights blog as a one-stop shop for business decision-makers to find the latest information about the novel coronavirus. Adapting material from VUMC and other trusted sources, the team created resources and guides on workforce infection prevention and health issues during the pandemic.

They also hosted a series of Q&A sessions with experts from VUMC and the Tennessee Department of Health to give employers a deeper understanding of the virus and the pandemic’s implications to businesses of all kinds.

Large employers such as Ryman Hospitality Properties, Gaylord Hotels and American Airlines approached the Employer Solutions team to consult and advise them through unique pandemic-induced challenges for their businesses. The team has been instrumental in helping the Ryman Auditorium safely reopen at limited capacity, and it played a key role in ensuring the Grand Ole Opry could welcome a small number of guests for its recent 95th anniversary show.

The Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation also asked the team to help create a free program that would provide ongoing education to area businesses to help them understand and follow public health guidelines. Dubbed “Good to Go,” the program has grown to include 725 participating businesses that have done their part to protect the health of their employees, customers and the community using resources from VUMC experts.

Since March, Vanderbilt Health Employer Solutions has:

  • Communicated with nearly 1,000 unique contacts at 750+ different businesses
  • Posted weekly blog content for employers that has been viewed more than 16,000 times
  • Published 35 COVID-19-specific emails to Nashville-area employers
  • Hosted monthly webinars for 700+ participating businesses in “Good to Go Nashville”

“We truly felt it was our duty to use our time, talents and resources to help employers make critical decisions about their businesses during this extremely challenging time,” said Brent McDonald, Senior Vice President of Vanderbilt Health Employer Solutions. “While no one would wish for a situation like this, the pandemic has created even closer connections between VUMC and the business community that will only strengthen in the years ahead. It has been a privilege to work in partnership with so many business leaders who truly care about the short-term and long-term health and well-being of their employees.”

As one of the state’s largest private employers, VUMC has first-hand experience with many of the same workforce health concerns facing business leaders today. For example, much of VUMC’s experience with COVID-19 mitigation and management for its own employees translated well to other workforce populations. The Employer Solutions team works closely with VUMC Employee Health plan leaders and the Occupational Health & Wellness team to develop, test and refine new health and wellness strategies with our own employees, then make them available to area employers facing similar challenges.

The recent launch of MyHealth Bundles is one of the new innovative approaches developed by VUMC Episodes of Care/Care Transformation Initiative that the Vanderbilt Health Employer Solutions team is making available to employers locally, regionally and nationally. Other VUMC services that are part of the Employer Solutions umbrella are: Executive Health; Concierge Medicine; Worker’s Compensation; Provider Network capabilities via the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network (VHAN); Corporate Clinics; Corporate Health & Wellness; Facilitated Access; and Pharmacy Solutions;

Looking ahead, 2021 will be a year of growth and expansion for Vanderbilt Health Employer Solutions:

  • The team has already begun foundational work to educate the employer community about the COVID-19 vaccines, equipping business leaders to be vocal and visible supporters of vaccination in this critical phase of the pandemic.
  • MyHealth Bundles has expanded to include four additional commercial bundles in 2021, expanding from MyMaternityHealth, which launched in 2020.
  • Concierge Medicine will relocate to a new, state-of-the-art space in Green Hills, allowing the program to welcome new patients this spring.
  • The team is actively developing several new services for employers that will debut in 2021.

“Employers play a critical role in our ability to meaningfully improve the health of our region,” said C.J. Stimson, MD, JD, Senior Vice President of Value Transformation in the VUMC Office of Population Health. “That’s why we actively seek out their input, guidance and feedback to ensure we’re developing new solutions and strategies that meet the health goals of their company and employees. Activating employers to be ambassadors of health to their employees and families is key to positively affecting the health of our community. We should all be proud of the work VUMC is doing to help businesses develop innovative approaches to health that are especially important in a post-pandemic world.”

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