August 16, 2002

Vanderbilt, Aetna agree on three-year contract

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Campers and staff pose for a picture during the final day of this summer’s Camp Sugar Falls, a camp for children with diabetes and their siblings. (photos by Dana Johnson)

Vanderbilt Medical Center and Aetna have agreed to terms for a new three-year contract that will provide Aetna’s approximately 350,000 Tennessee members with access to Vanderbilt’s health services including its 800 physicians and specialists and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. The new agreement goes into effect on Sept. 15.

The agreement comes more than a year after Aetna and Vanderbilt were unable to agree on terms of a new contract and terminated their relationship in March 2001. The separation proved difficult for both Aetna and Vanderbilt.

“Many of our physicians had seen Aetna patients for years,” said Dr. John Sergent, chief medical officer and head of the Vanderbilt Medical Group, the state’s largest physician group practice. “The changes in those physician-patient relationships were trying for our doctors and difficult for Aetna members. We are very happy to once again be able to see those families.”

“The pediatricians throughout our region rely on the unique services of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital,” said Dr. Arnold Strauss, medical director and chief of pediatrics for Children’s Hospital. “We know it has been hard for many of the pediatricians in town to find the kind of specialty support and expertise they need for kids who they care for. This new contract means that Children’s Hospital and all of our doctors are once again available to kids whose moms and dads have Aetna health plans.”

The new contract covers services offered by Vanderbilt for all Aetna health plans including their health maintenance organizations, their preferred provider network and their consumer-directed insurance plans.

“It is our goal to develop positive relationships with the provider community in order to offer our members a broad choice of hospitals and physicians to meet their health care needs,” explained Tom Golias, Aetna’s network head for the Tennessee market. “We are very pleased that this collaborative effort has resulted in a renewed relationship with Vanderbilt that will expand our members’ access to affordable quality health care in Tennessee.”

“We recognize that our members value the services Vanderbilt and its physicians have to offer,” said Dr. Greg Cannella, network medical director for the Tennessee market. “We look forward to building and strengthening what we hope will be a mutually beneficial long-term relationship that represents the best interests of the patients and members we serve.”

“I am happy to once again be working with Aetna,” said Dr. Harry Jacobson, Vanderbilt’s vice chancellor for Health Affairs. “I have great respect for Jack Rowe at Aetna. I like the focus he has taken with Aetna, and I’m happy that all of the services Vanderbilt offers will be available for all Aetna members and their families.”

Aetna is one of the nation’s leading providers of health care and related group benefits, serving approximately 14.4 million health care members, 11.9 million dental members and 12 million group insurance customers, as of June 30. Information about Aetna is available at