June 26, 1998

VUMC, McKendree join forces

McKendree Village Inc., a 750-bed resident continuing care retirement community established by the Tennessee Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center have agreed to enter a partnership to enhance services to senior adults in Middle Tennessee.

The partnership offers expanded teaching and research programs and a new center for geriatric medicine at McKendree's Hermitage site.

Although the partnership agreement provides for joint governance of McKendree Village, no merger or change of ownership or management of McKendree's assets are planned. Another provision of the agreement is for McKendree Village to manage Vanderbilt's subacute/skilled nursing unit.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The two entities have also agreed to merge their respective home health services into one corporation with joint ownership and governance. Work is under way to notify and obtain authorization from appropriate federal and state agencies concerning the merger of the home health agencies.

The two organizations have a long-standing relationship and joined forces through an affiliation agreement in 1996 to support various educational and training endeavors, including the establishment of a parish nurse program. The new partnership expands and enhances past accomplishments, and, at the same time, maintains the current relationship which McKendree Village has built with the Tennessee Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

"This partnership with VUMC will support McKendree Village's goal of becoming a regional leader in geriatric and chronic care services and allow it to achieve national capability in research, teaching and comprehensive care services in accordance with our Christian values and our strong covenant relationship with the Tennessee Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church," said Dr. Robert Willner, president of McKendree Village.

Norman B. Urmy, executive vice president for Clinical Affairs for VUMC, said the agreement builds on the strengths of both organizations to benefit Middle Tennessee senior citizens.

"We are extremely excited about this agreement. McKendree Village and Vanderbilt complement each other in many ways. This partnership supports VUMC's mission of becoming a fully integrated delivery system serving the Middle Tennessee region while at the same time supporting McKendree Village's goal of becoming a national leader in geriatric care.

"It truly is a win-win situation for everyone," Urmy said.

This new partnership agreement is designed to provide continuity of care and enhanced services to all McKendree Village and VUMC residents and home health clients. No changes in access to services are planned by either entity. Operating efficiencies, including reduced overhead costs and enhanced technology, are expected to be achieved by the new partnership.

According to officials with both health care organizations, the benefits of the agreement are numerous. or McKendree Village, the agreement adds VUMC and its first-tier capabilities in research, education and patient care to support its goal of becoming a U.S. leader in the care for senior adults. It also bolsters the company's ability to obtain long-term investments in management and infrastructure and provides patients and residents with access to VUMC's broad array of specialists, as well as its network of managed care contracts.

For VUMC, the agreement supports the goal of becoming a fully integrated delivery system by expanding regional market share in geriatrics. The elderly (aged 65 and over) population in the United States is expected to double during the next 30 years as baby boomers become senior citizens. By 2005, the elderly population in Nashville is expected to grow by nearly 13 percent, twice the U.S. average. And though they make up just 12 percent of the U.S. population, the elderly account for 36 percent of all health care expenditures.

"Geriatrics is an area that we have identified as needing to be strengthened," Urmy said. "Integrating McKendree Village programs helps position VUMC to be the leader in serving this key growth market in the Middle Tennessee region."

According to Urmy, McKendree and VUMC are excited about the prospect of working together and are looking forward to building on the strengths of both organizations for the communitites they serve.