Vanderbilt Health Employer Advisory Council sets priorities to improve health of communitiesJun. 21, 2023, 1:16 PM
by Jamie Roberts
At the beginning of 2023, Vanderbilt Health Employer Solutions (VHES), which provides workforce health and wellness services to businesses, launched the Vanderbilt Health Employer Advisory Council to bring Tennessee employers together to discuss common challenges and develop solutions to improve the health of the communities where they live and work.
“The council fosters peer-to-peer collaboration, shares national and regional thought leadership opportunities, discusses trends and challenges, and works with Vanderbilt Health on innovative, value-based health care solutions,” said Brent McDonald, Senior Vice President for the Office of Population Health.
The Employer Advisory Council is an example of how Vanderbilt Health prioritizes relationships with regional employers and continues to strengthen connections developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. VUMC regularly shared best practices and resources with employers throughout Tennessee and the region on how to safely maintain a workforce and bolster employees as they faced unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, and the team delivered COVID-19 testing and vaccination support to thousands of area employees.
“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,” McDonald said.
At the council’s inaugural meeting in February, the 16 members shared why they joined the group, then reviewed the council’s purpose and goals for the year. Key topics emerged for future council agendas such as cost issues, new models of value-based care and the shifting employer landscape in Middle Tennessee. Members were also interested in discussing how social determinants of health and health equity are becoming greater priorities for benefit design.
A common theme that emerged was the importance of providing “the right care, at the right time, at the right place.” Members were eager to begin collaborating with other business leaders and hearing about important lessons they’ve learned, barriers they’ve overcome and innovative ways they’re improving the health of their employees.
The council’s May meeting was hosted by one of the members at Meharry Medical College. Speakers from VUMC — C.J Stimson, MD, JD, Senior Vice President of Value Transformation in the Office of Population Health; Rick Ohmer, MBA, executive director of Compensation and Benefits; Jaqueline Bradley, PharmD; and Erin Neal, PharmD — presented information on medication utilization and cost trends and discussed strategies to optimize member outcomes and manage prices for high-cost drugs.
The council members discussed wins, challenges and strategies related to their own pharmacy management and health plan impacts. Genesco will host the next Employer Advisory Council later this summer.
“As we approached individuals about representing their companies and adding their voices to the advisory council, what we heard over and over was they wanted to be a part of a bigger solution when it comes to improving health care in their communities,” said Jaquita Taylor, senior director, Vanderbilt Health Employer Solutions. “They appreciated VUMC’s demonstrated innovation and willingness to share creative ways to knock down barriers to improve health care.”
David Hines, executive director of Benefits for Metro Nashville Public Schools, serves as council chair, and Cindy Dempsey, director of Total Rewards for Genesco, is vice chair.
Ohmer is a member of the Employer Advisory Council, as are representatives from Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc., Delek U.S. Holdings Inc., Genesco, Lee Company, Meharry Medical College, Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp., Nashville Electric Service, Nissan Group of North America, Ryman Hospitality Properties, 3LS Inc., Thrivence, Vanderbilt University and VUMC.