Transition Complete: Vanderbilt University Medical Center is Independent Entity

From the Summer 2016 edition of Vanderbilt Medicine Magazine

Illustration by Kino Brod
Illustration by Kino Brod

After a nearly two-year, carefully orchestrated process, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is now operating as a fully independent, nonprofit entity, following the completion of the legal transaction on April 30 that separated it legally and financially from Vanderbilt University. The transition positions VUMC for future growth and investment, while preserving its tightly woven connections to the University in research and teaching.

“While we are now optimally positioned for the future of health care delivery, we have taken care to assure VUMC will remain seamlessly connected to Vanderbilt University in fundamental ways, including a vast array of educational and research programs aimed at training the leaders of the future and driving innovation through discovery science,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of VUMC, and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

VUMC is now guided by its own board of directors. Chaired by Edith Carell Johnson, the Medical Center’s new board is comprised of leadership from Vanderbilt University and VUMC, along with individuals possessing diverse professional experiences and talents including clinical practice, health care education, biomedical research, biotechnology commercialization, banking, capital financing, law and other disciplines. The board’s experience reflects the totality of VUMC’s mission as an academic medical center.

The restructuring of Vanderbilt University and VUMC began in November 2014 following a yearlong study by the Vanderbilt University board of trust in response to the rapidly changing health care economy. As an independent entity, VUMC now has direct capital market access to assure it can compete effectively in the health marketplace. Its new flexible governance structure will also support the continued growth of the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network. The Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network is now comprised of 56 hospitals, more than 235 physician practices, more than 35 urgent care, after-hours and walk-in clinics, and more than 70 employer health plan customers, and is the largest provider- organized network of doctors, regional health systems and other health care providers in Tennessee and surrounding states.

Teaching and research collaboration and connections between the University and the Medical Center remain a strategic priority for both institutions.

While the M.D. undergraduate medical education program will be financially supported by Vanderbilt University, the Medical Center will continue to have seamless integration with the University in all present and future academic missions, programs and activities, including faculty appointments, teaching and research.

To assure the continued vibrancy and future growth of basic biomedical research and education, the University will play a greater role in financially supporting the Ph.D.-granting programs in the School of Medicine, its basic science programs, as well as the academic programs in the School of Nursing. VUMC will continue to support research and GME (resident/fellowship) training activities based in clinical departments and clinically-related centers.

The development of the organizational structures, technology, processes and procedures needed to transition the Medical Center and University into separate legal and financial entities was carried out by 20 transition teams and involved many faculty and staff.