September 27, 2011

FAQs About the Announcement of Vanderbilt Affiliation Agreements with Maury Regional, NorthCrest and Williamson Medical Centers

Last week Vanderbilt announced affiliation agreements with Maury Regional Medical Center, NorthCrest Medical Center and Williamson Medical Center. Here are some questions and answers about those agreements.

To read the VUMC Reporter article about the agreements, go here.

Question: What is the main purpose for Vanderbilt and the affiliate hospitals to enter into affiliation?

Answer: A key purpose for forming these affiliations will be the opportunity to bring tertiary services associated with an academic medical center together with local community providers to lead and shape the delivery and quality of patient care for residents throughout Middle Tennessee.

Question: How does the affiliation intend to impact quality of care?

Answer: Through the affiliation, Vanderbilt and the affiliate hospitals will set the “Gold Standard” for measuring quality and achieving clinical integration. Defining the “Gold Standard” will include practicing evidenced based medicine, establishing quality standards and tracking clinical outcomes.

Question: How will the affiliation impact local programs and services?

Answer: The affiliation will enable Vanderbilt and the affiliate hospitals to create new, shared programs throughout Middle Tennessee.

Question: How will the affiliation impact employees at the affiliate hospitals?

Answer: The affiliation will strategically focus relationships between Vanderbilt and the affiliate hospitals to develop new programs within the local communities. This should positively benefit employees and all residents of Middle Tennessee through the provision of improved access to a broader array of locally available health care services. We anticipate the creation of new programs and services will support job creation within local communities throughout Middle Tennessee.

Question: Is the affiliation announcement just a first step toward Vanderbilt acquiring local hospitals?

Answer: No. Vanderbilt is not acquiring hospitals. The affiliation is recognition of the importance for the role of both the affiliate hospitals and Vanderbilt, while maintaining their respective independence. There is no plan for merger or acquisition of hospitals. Plans are to coordinate services to the appropriate location based on need and availability of providers.

Question: How does the affiliation impact the local medical staffs (community providers) of each affiliate hospital?

Answer: The affiliation agreements do not seek to alter the relationships between local medical staffs (community providers) and the affiliate hospitals. In fact, these relationships between local medical staffs and the affiliate hospitals are an integral part of the affiliation. All providers will benefit from the creation of new, shared programs throughout Middle Tennessee.

Question: How will payor (insurance) contracting be impacted by the affiliation?

Answer: All providers will continue to contract with payors as they do today. As new, jointly operated programs are developed we anticipate there may be some details associated with payor contracting that will need to be addressed to ensure continuity of care.