October 22, 1999

Alliance created to manage Bedford County Medical Center

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Dr. Raymond DuBois Jr.

Alliance created to manage Bedford County Medical Center

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Quorum Health Resources LLC and Bedford County Medical Center are joining forces to ensure that high-quality health care services remain available to the residents of Bedford County in southern Middle Tennessee.

Last week, both the Bedford County Board of Commissioners and the Bedford County Medical Center (BCMC) Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve the arrangement.

Under terms of the three-year contract, Quorum Health Resources will manage BCMC under a "pass-through" arrangement with VUMC, which has had close ties with the Bedford County hospital for many years.

Quorum Health Resources has management contracts with 223, mostly rural, health care facilities and is a subsidiary of Brentwood-based Quorum Health Group Inc., which owns 21 hospitals, most in communities with populations of 50,000 to 500,000.

According to officials with all three parties, the arrangement results in a management structure that protects the hospital's financial stability and puts it in a better position to more quickly respond to today's ever-changing health care environment.

"This combination gives us the best of both worlds," said Raford Hulan, vice-chairman of BCMC's Board of Directors. "We get Vanderbilt's clinical expertise and Quorum's experience managing small, rural hospitals."

Jerry Wilkes, vice president of marketing for Quorum Health Resources, agreed.

"We are extremely excited about this relationship. It really does bring together the things that we do well and the things that Vanderbilt does well."

It also ensures that the more than 30,000 people in Bedford and neighboring counties will continue to have access to the high-quality health care services provided by both BCMC and VUMC. The two institutions have been closely linked for some time — VUMC operates clinics in Cardiology and Dermatology and manages the hospital's Nuclear Radiology operations.

Mounting pressures — ranging from ongoing funding cuts on the state and federal levels to dwindling reimbursement rates due to the rise of managed care — spurred the arrangement between the three entities.

"We started out looking at the best ways to bring a small, rural hospital into 21st Century medicine," Hulan said.

Discussions between Vanderbilt and BCMC began more than three years ago, and were spearheaded by Hulan and Judge William Russell, who served as BCMC's attorney until his death earlier this summer. Both were concerned with safeguarding the future of the medical center and ensuring that area residents had access to the broad array of specialty services provided by a tertiary care provider such as VUMC.

"Health care has become extremely complicated," said Hulan. "Everyone's trying to position themselves to react fast to increasing changes.

“We wanted somebody looking over our shoulders who has a regional and national perspective on health care, both clinically and administratively.

"This arrangement with Vanderbilt and Quorum does just that."