June 11, 1999

Transaction complete, Webb set to guide Psychiatric Hospital

Transaction complete, Webb set to guide Psychiatric Hospital


Lynn Webb, Ph.D., is the new administrator for the Psychiatric Hospital at Vanderbilt. (photo by Donna Jones Bailey)

After more than a year of negotiations, Vanderbilt University Medical Center has officially obtained sole ownership of the Psychiatric Hospital at Vanderbilt, and the approximately 170 PHV employees are now Vanderbilt employees.

It's a decision that benefits both Vanderbilt and the community, said Lynn E. Webb, Ph.D., formerly COO of the Vanderbilt Medical Group, who has been named the hospital's new administrator.

Webb came to VUMC in 1993 as director of the Vanderbilt Clinic. His career began with a bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology from Illinois State University, an MBA from the University of Illinois at Springfield, and a Ph.D. in higher education from Southern Illinois University. His career also includes formerly directing a community mental health center, where he practiced as a therapist.

Norman B. Urmy, executive vice president for clinical affairs, said the hospital will benefit from Webb's experience.

"Lynn has the requisite Vanderbilt experience and some valuable background in the behavioral health field. I am thrilled we were able to interest Lynn in this job. He is the right person."

Webb said he is looking forward to the tasks ahead.

"It's like getting back to my roots. I'm enjoying being in a program that allows me to be close to patient care activity."

Webb said there are many tasks at hand as the hospital begins the new ownership, including filling vacant positions and replacing temporary personnel with permanent employees.

"There is a shortage of psychiatric nurses, so we will be most anxious to fill those positions," Webb said.

The hospital's patient volume also decreased when the hospital's future was undecided, so the PHV is looking to reestablish referrals from the VMG and community physicians. Currently only about 50 of the hospital's 74 open beds are filled.

Webb said the staff is also working on making sure that all computer systems in the PHV are Y2K-compliant. Billing and financial systems and the phone system will also be worked into the current Vanderbilt system, he said.

Plans are also under way to re-open the hospital's geriatric psychiatric unit, which closed in April 1998.

"We are doing everything we can to assure that Vanderbilt is a leader in community psychiatric services," Webb said.

PHV opened in 1985 as the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Hospital, a cooperative venture between Vanderbilt and Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. It was the first psychiatric hospital in the country to be built and operated cooperatively by an academic medical center and an investor-owned corporation.

Adult services were added in 1995.

When PHV first opened it offered inpatient services, almost solely with a length of stay over 20 days. Today it offers both inpatient and outpatient services and the length of stay has decreased to six days. The program now includes addiction services as well as adult, child, adolescent and geriatric psychiatric services. The hospital includes a 16-bed child unit; 16-bed adolescent unit; 28-bed adult unit; and 14-bed addiction unit.

The decision to end the partnership with Columbia/HCA came in 1997. Vanderbilt announced it would buy out Columbia's stake in October 1998. Full ownership by Vanderbilt ensures continuation of the VUMC training program in Psychiatry.

"To be fully owned by Vanderbilt allows us to better integrate with the Department of Psychiatry," Webb said, adding that beginning in July, psychiatric residents will be at PHV 24-hours-a-day. The residents already offer crisis intervention service in the emergency department.

Webb also hopes the PHV will become involved in outreach education as well.

"One of my goals is for the Psychiatric Hospital at Vanderbilt to be a center for mental health education in the region for everything from the special needs of adolescents to caring for an aging parent," Webb said.