January 31, 2003

Cross named CEO of Psychiatric Hospital at Vanderbilt

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Ann Cross officially assumed the leadership role at PHV at the beginning of the year. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Cross named CEO of Psychiatric Hospital at Vanderbilt

Ann Cross has been named director of patient care services and CEO of Psychiatric Hospital at Vanderbilt (PHV). Cross has been director of patient care services at the hospital since 1996, and has been CEO on an interim basis since July 2002.

“Ann has a strong background in behavioral health administration and leadership,” said Marilyn Dubree, VUMC chief nursing officer. “We’re very pleased that she has accepted this new role.”

Having 200 employees and 88 licensed beds, PHV provides inpatient services, daytime hospitalization (called partial hospitalization), and intensive outpatient services to children, adolescents and adults with psychiatric and substance abuse problems.

These continue to be challenging times for providers of mental health services, who for years have faced diminishing interest from health care insurers. Managed care organizations were successful in years ago forcing providers to move care to the less expensive outpatient setting. Insurers have more recently turned to cutting back outpatient mental health benefits. Cross said consumers are relatively reluctant to complain about the cuts, and she views this reluctance as another sign that the old stigma of mental illness is slow in dying.

The diminishing mental health dollar has led to a thinning of competition, with psychiatric hospitals shutting down at a faster rate than other hospitals. The surviving providers see only the most acutely ill patients. For this reason, at least at PHV, inpatient care is growing. PHV occupancy had slipped to as low as 40 percent in 1998 but it is now up to around 75 percent (and more beds have been added).

“We’re actively trying to serve more people,” Cross said. Oddly enough, TennCare, which is a big drain on the finances of Vanderbilt University Hospital and Vanderbilt Medical Group, is a relatively positive force for PHV. TennCare mental health services are carved out, that is, they are administered and reimbursed differently from other TennCare services. “It will be to our advantage to grow our TennCare population,” Cross said.

Cross earned her master’s in nursing, with specialization in psychiatric and mental health nursing, from the University of Colorado in 1984. She earned an MBA from Belmont University in 1989.