|Administrator's Corner: Carol T. Hawkins, FACMPE, Pediatric Associates of Franklin|
As 2008 draws to a close, the nation prepares to embark on a new year filled with equal parts anticipation and anxiety. What changes will a new presidential administration bring to the industry? What shape will healthcare reform take and what does that mean for practices and patients?
While no one knows the answer, Carol Hawkins, FACMPE, administrator for Pediatric Associates of Franklin, reminds us, "The one constant that we can depend on in healthcare today is change."
|Physician Spotlight: Jeff Balser, MD|
When asked for a vision of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine a decade from now, Jeff Balser's predictions — and his dreams — spilled out. Today's job, he added, is preparing for that future. A physician who also holds a doctorate in pharmacology, Balser became only the 11th dean in the Medical School's storied, 133-year history when he was named to the position in October.
SHARON H. FITZGERALD
|Healthcare Enterprise: PharmMD Helps Ensure Medication Safety and Lower Costs|
With hundreds of prescription drugs on the U.S. pharmaceutical market, who better than a pharmacist to manage medication therapy? Nobody, according to Samuel "Bo" Bartholomew, chief executive officer of Brentwood-based PharmMD. That simple premise is the foundation of the company, which has seen its business triple in the last year.
SHARON H. FITZGERALD
|Looking to the Future|
Vanderbilt Vision 2020Measure... innovate...engage... impact – these four simple words hold the key to Vanderbilt's vision for the future of healthcare and serve as a directive for the academic medical center to affect change on a local, regional, national and international level.
Despite past successes, the leadership at Vanderbilt University Medical Center finds the current national model of care, research and teaching is unsustainable.
|Treating "Orphan" Disorders|
A child born with homocystinuria usually appears healthy at first, but victims of this inherited genetic disorder may face a variety of complications. A failure of the body to properly process some amino acids, homocystinuria is characterized by a dislocation of the eye lens, an increased risk of blood clots, skeletal abnormalities, and sometimes development and learning problems. Fewer than 2,000 patients worldwide suffer from this rare metabolic syndrome.
SHARON H. FITZGERALD
|Using the System to Break the Cycle|
Hope and help are available for some of the city's most vulnerable entrants into the criminal justice system. Since 2001, the Davidson County Mental Health Court has worked with hundreds of clients to try to make sure they don't become repeat offenders.
A four-year federal grant allowed the General Sessions Court to establish a Mental Health Court in Davidson County.
|Mental Health Parity Becomes a Reality|
Although all the attention was focused on the financial ramifications of October's Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (HR 1424), mental health providers across the country rejoiced that patients were receiving a bailout of their own in terms of breaking down barriers to much-needed care.
|Tennessee Hospitals Handling the Economy with Caution, Not Panic|
In today's challenging economy, Tennessee hospitals are tightening their belts and slowing capital investments, but operations are holding steady.
"Hospitals are starting to hold onto cash a whole lot more than they were before, and I think they're just waiting," said Craig Becker, president of the Tennessee Hospital Association.
SHARON H. FITZGERALD
|Local Pharmacy Schools Off to a Good Start|
Belmont, Lipscomb Wind Up First SemesterAs the first semester draws to a close at Nashville's two new schools of pharmacy, both Belmont and David Lipscomb are evaluating the evolution of their newly created programs, instituted in response to a growing nationwide shortage of qualified pharmacists.
Both schools are moving successfully along the track for accreditation from the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE), the official regulatory body that accredits all colleges of pharmacy in the United States.
|Medical Recycling... What Goes Around|
Even though Harriet Karro hopes for vases and roses, and Greg Cox needs anesthesia machines and centrifuges, their purposes are the same.
Both lead teams of dedicated volunteers who take "recycling" to a new level — bringing added purpose to beautiful celebratory flowers and "repositioning" basic medical supplies that have been around the block, saving them all from the landfill to cure or comfort once more.
|Health Premiums Outpace Paychecks in Tennessee|
Between 2000 and 2007, family healthcare premiums in Tennessee rose an estimated 5.1 times faster than earnings. These findings were recently released by Families USA, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, D.C., that advocates for affordable, accessible healthcare for consumers.
This latest information on the widening gap between premiums and paychecks doesn't bode well for any of the stakeholders, particularly as the nation slips deeper into recession.
Special to Medical News from Walker Duncan, NashvillePost.com
Despite the ongoing financial storm, Franklin-based Psychiatric Solutions has continued making strong forward progress.
The local mental health provider's stock price has, like the rest of the market, fallen off somewhat but to a far lesser degree. Shares, which this time last year were changing hands in the upper $30s, dipped into the upper $20s in October, but quickly bounced back above $30 in November.
|The Healthy Americans Act|
The Healthy Americans Act was introduced in the 110th Congress as legislation that seeks to expand medical insurance coverage to all Americans. The bill was pending at the close of the legislative session. Congressman Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., representing the Fifth District is a co-sponsor of the bill and a strong advocate for the principles espoused in the legislation. Congressman Cooper recently discussed the Healthy Americans Act with the Nashville Medical News.
BRENT R. MOODY, MD
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