JOHNSON CITY, Tenn.— Mountain States Health Alliance, which operates 12 hospitals in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia, will join Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s network of affiliated hospitals. As part of the affiliation, the two organizations will collaborate on physician recruitment, clinical trials and medical research, share best practices in accountable care and evidence-based care models, and work directly with payers. “All of us want to remain independent,” said Clem Wilkes, Mountain State’s board chairman. “It’s a way that hospitals can continue to exist on their own, but benefit from the efficiencies and scope of services that another organization can provide.” Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a 909-bed academic medical center in Nashville, most recently signed an affiliation agreement in January with West Tennessee Healthcare, a public health system. “Our affiliation with Mountain States Health Alliance creates greater opportunity for both institutions to fulfill important objectives for those we serve, forming the framework for Vanderbilt to collaborate with like-minded colleagues to bring patients greater access to a diverse array of clinical and research initiatives,” Dr. C. Wright Pinson, deputy vice chancellor for health
affairs at Vanderbilt University and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System, said in a news release. A governing board composed of equal representation for both organizations will be established. In addition, the affiliation does not have any financial terms. Pinson said later in an interview that the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network will likely include affiliations with out-of-state hospitals in the future. The network now has about 30 hospitals. — Jaimy Lee MONTGOMERY, Ala.— The Alabama Legislature passed a sweeping revision to Medicaid that replaces the way the program delivers and pays for care with regional managed-care operators. Under the legislation passed last week, the Alabama Medicaid Agency will no longer bear financial risks but will instead assume the role of contract administrator. Savings of $50 million to $75 million over five years and future cost containment is expected. Privately owned Regional Care Organizations won’t deal directly with patients, but will contract directly with doctors to provide care. The organizations will be required to improve the quality of care and provide better access to services. If they’re successful, the agencies will realize profits. No current services will be eliminated. Nursing home patients, dental, mental health and pharmacy programs will not be affected until 2016. — Associated Press
Johnson City Medical Center is among Mountain States’ 12 hospitals, which will join Vanderbilt’s network.