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Tennessee hospitals partner for a statewide, in-network system

University Health Network and Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network have agreed on a value-based, healthcare alliance.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

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WHAT HAPPENED

Two Tennessee health systems have partnered for a statewide in-network collaboration of physicians, hospitals and quick-care centers.

The University Health Network, a clinically integrated network and accountable care organization based in Knoxville in eastern Tennessee, has announced an affiliation with the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network, based out of Nashville in the central part of the state.

The new relationship creates an independent, statewide system of in-network physicians, hospitals, health systems, physician practices and quick-care centers that all work with multiple national insurance carriers. 

WHY IT MATTERS

The partnership is expected to improve care in a value-based affiliation of population health that can tackle high-cost care such as chronic illness.

The University Health Network includes University Physicians' Association and the University of Tennessee Medical Center, among others.

All providers participating in the University Physicians' Association and the University of Tennessee Medical Center are in-network for consumers across Tennessee who are covered by select insurance plans working with the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network.

Vanderbilt is comprised of 12 health systems, 60-plus hospitals, more than 350 practices and 5,000 providers. Its network now stretches across Tennessee, including the Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville metro areas, numerous rural communities and surrounding states.

THE TREND

Healthcare collaborations and affiliations are growing nationwide. They allow larger systems to expand without going through a merger and for smaller hospitals to get access to care at a bigger system, in-network, for a value-based affiliation.

Both get the clout to better compete against neighboring hospitals. And they offer employers a larger, in-network system when choosing insurance coverage.

In New England, Partners HealthCare, which includes Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital among its dozen hospitals, has reached northward into New Hampshire to include Exeter Health Resources and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in its regional network.

A new regional non-profit corporation is expected to be developed to oversee Exeter Health Resources and Wentworth-Douglass. The new corporation will be a subsidiary of Mass General.   

Physician leaders from both of the Tennessee organizations are currently collaborating on strategies for quality and value improvement in multiple clinical and operational areas. 

ON THE RECORD

"This agreement brings together two of the leading organizations in the healthcare industry, joining forces to leverage our individual expertise, to result in a more efficient and higher quality healthcare delivery system for our collective patients," said Joe Landsman, president and CEO of The University of Tennessee Medical Center. "Through this effort, we'll be able to address the chronic illnesses that plague so many throughout Tennessee, while also reducing cost from the healthcare system."

"The University Health Network's agreement with VHAN will profoundly increase our collective ability to achieve the ambitious population health goals that both of our organizations share," said C. Wright Pinson, MD, deputy CEO and chief health system officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "In order to combat widespread public health issues like obesity and diabetes, we need to be a true statewide network, and UHN's participation makes that vision a reality."

"When like-minded organizations like UHN and VHAN work together to solve large-scale population health problems, communities across the Southeast can benefit tremendously," said David R. Posch, executive vice president of Population Health for Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Executive Director of VHAN.

"The collaboration between UHN and VHAN will allow for significant information sharing between physicians for the benefit of our patients," said Amy Barger Stevens, MD, board chair of University Health Network and a primary care physician at The University of Tennessee Medical Center. "Together, we're creating a new patient-centric care delivery system that spans the entire episode of care and helps patients navigate their way through their entire healthcare journey with optimal outcomes."

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com

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