Grand Rounds July
Vanderbilt Leading International THERAPY Trial for Stroke

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are leading an international clinical trial to examine the functional benefits of a combined therapy to treat acute ischemic stroke, which accounts for 87 percent of all strokes.

The THERAPY trial involves use of the standard-of-care, clot-busting intravenous drug tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) and an interventional device treatment, the Penumbra System, that gently suctions away blood clots to restore blood flow to the brain’s affected area. The trial will evaluate the combined therapy compared to IV tPA treatment alone. The Penumbra System, which was FDA-approved in December 2007, has been used in approximately 15,000 stroke treatment procedures in the U.S. Principal investigator J Mocco, MD, associate professor of Neurological Surgery, said the trial hopes to involve 75 stroke treatment centers worldwide to participate, with a target enrollment of 692 patients.


Free Back-to-School Immunizations Available for Uninsured Children, TennCare Patients

United Neighborhood Health Services (UNHS) is offering back-to-school immunizations and physicals for children at three of its Nashville clinics so that children will be prepared for the first day of school on August 1.

Free immunizations are available to students age 18 and under, who do not have insurance coverage or who have TennCare, at these United Neighborhood Health Services’ clinics:  Dickerson Road Clinic (1223 Dickerson Road), Main Street Clinic (905 Main St.) and Southside Family Clinic (1101 Charles Davis Blvd.).


Wang Instrumental in Developing New Amniotic Membrane Contact Lens

Ming Wang, MD, PhD, clinical associate professor of ophthalmology for the University of Tennessee and director of Wang Vision 3D Cataract & LASIK Center, recently announced a new generation of contact lenses using principals he began researching 16 years ago are now available for those with corneal ulcers and injury.

The journey began in 1996 when Wang, a student in Boston and later a fellow at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, demonstrated amniotic membrane transplantation reduced corneal scarring by inhibiting keratocyte programmed cell death. Late last year, amniotic membrane contact lenses (AMCL), which were developed based on Wang’s research and U.S. patents, became available commercially in the United States.

Recognizing a fetus could heal without scarring, Wang and his team were frustrated by trying to discern how to study the process without harming the fetus. He noted that it was about this time that physicians were beginning to realize the amniotic membrane might contain the ingredients necessary for healing without scarring. Using donated amniotic sacs, typically discarded after birth, the research team transplanted the membrane onto injured adult eyes to create a protective, fetus-like environment. 

“When the membranes were removed, instead of seeing scarred and blind eyes, we saw clear corneas with vision,” said Wang. A number of scientific papers followed, and Wang said focus turned to improving the delivery system for the amniotic membrane.

“Instead of transplantation and suturing, we made it into a contact lens, an amniotic membrane contact lens. Our goal is to make this medical treatment available in emergency rooms and hospitals throughout the world so that when a patient comes in who is suffering from an eye surface injury, a doctor or nurse can immediately treat the eye with an amniotic membrane contact lens during the critical initial period of post-trauma wound-healing and subsequently reduce scarring and restore the patient’s sight,” he explained. Ultimately, EyeVU was formed in conjunction with Vanderbilt to manufacture the prototype lens, which was later licensed to IOP, Inc.

Wang demonstrated the efficacy of the new lens last month on Sandra Perkins, a 62-year-old patient with a long-standing history of herpetic eye infections. Perkins also had a persistent non-healing corneal ulcer for 7 months, causing her to have pain and progressively deteriorating vision. Wang said all conventional treatments had failed to heal the ulcer and noted Perkins was on the brink of losing her sight completely in the eye. She became one of the first patients to receive the new AMCL treatment. After two weeks with the lens, her corneal ulcer was healed.

“I no longer have any pain and tearing, and the best part of it is I can see now,” exclaimed Perkins. “I am an obstetrics and gynecology nurse so the concept of this breakthrough amniotic membrane technology really hit home in my heart,” she added.


Insight Genetics Partners with GE Healthcare’s Clarient, Kindstar

Nashville-based molecular diagnostics company Insight Genetics, Inc. has recently announced two strategic partnerships.

The first is a worldwide licensing agreement for intellectual property from Insight with Clarient Diagnostic Services, Inc., a GE Healthcare company, to develop a genetic test covering the ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase) biomarker, a promising target for several classes of cancer drugs.

As a result of the agreement, Clarient intends to develop and evaluate the performance characteristics of a quantitative PCR-based test that detects increased transcription of the ALK gene. Rearrangements involving the ALK gene are implicated in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and other cancers. Several ALK inhibitors are in clinical trials and one, Xalkori®, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Since only patients with ALK fusions are likely to respond to ALK inhibitors, accurate diagnostic screening is essential before prescribing ALK-targeted drugs. It is estimated that more than 250,000 new cancer diagnoses in the U.S. each year can be linked to ALK mutations and fusions.

Insight Genetics has also entered into a global collaboration with Kindstar Globalgene (Beijing) Technology, Inc., China’s leading diagnostics company, to offer the Insight ALK Screen™ in the Republic of China and surrounding regions. The partnership allows Kindstar to add Insight’s lung cancer test to its growing menu of assays to improve cancer diagnosis and patient care.


Belmont University Launches New MBA for Healthcare Professionals 

Belmont University has announced a new MBA for Healthcare Professionals (HCMBA), a graduate program integrating cutting-edge business practice with the latest approaches to managing patient-centered healthcare. The degree program is a joint venture between Belmont University’s Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business, Inman College of Health Sciences, and College of Pharmacy.

Targeting working healthcare executives, the two-year program has been designed so that admitted students begin their studies in the fall with courses offered in a weeknight format supplemented by one week of concentrated daytime coursework each August and an international, study-abroad experience near the end of the first year.

The program’s “curricular DNA” includes two interrelated strands of coursework where connections are made between an MBA foundation and the business of healthcare. The MBA business core includes content coverage in each of the basic functional areas of business: accounting, finance, entrepreneurship, management, marketing, business technology and operations. As the student advances through the program, an increasing number of healthcare-specific business courses are added, with industry-specific content in areas such as patient-centered care, healthcare quality improvement and compliance, comparative healthcare systems, bioethics, healthcare informatics, and healthcare strategic management. Each student also has an opportunity to customize the program to fit their specific learning needs through selection of two course electives from topics such as lean healthcare management, negotiation and decision-making, supply chain management and physician practice management, among others.


Urology Associates Launches Men’s Health Clinic

Urology Associates of Nashville recently launched a new Men’s Health Clinic to provide a convenient and confidential setting for men seeking safe treatment options for erectile dysfunction, low testosterone, and fertility complications through a physician-managed program implemented by a team of board-certified urologists and medically-trained staff.

“Men are constantly flooded with advertisements from so-called medical clinics claiming there is a ‘magic pill’ or an ‘all natural supplement’ that will cure all of your complex male health needs,” said Bill Dutton, MD, urologist and director of the Men’s Health Clinic. “But the simple truth is these male-specific conditions are serious medical issues that should be addressed by a medical professional. Our physicians at the Men’s Health Clinic are dedicated to providing medically-responsible yet innovative treatment plans that ensure the patient’s safety while achieving results.”


Vanderbilt Wins Coveted Grants

In the second batch of Health Care Innovation Awards, Health and Human Services has awarded Vanderbilt University $18.8 million to improve chronic disease management in 18 rural and urban counties in Tennessee and Kentucky for high-risk, high cost patients with hypertension, congestive heart failure, and diabetes, many of whom have Medicare and Medicaid.

In other grant news, VUMC investigators have been awarded a two-year, $750,000 grant from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), one of the first grants awarded by the nonprofit institute established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the only such grant awarded in Tennessee.

The Vanderbilt research will begin this summer and will track both patients’/patient families’ and clinicians’ reports of “non-routine” events in four different clinical areas: elective pediatric cardiac surgery, outpatient pediatric oncology (chemotherapy administration), adult day surgery, and adult patients with acute coronary syndrome who are undergoing cardiac catheterization. A non-routine event is defined as any that deviates from optimal or expected care for a specific patient in a specific clinical situation. A multidisciplinary team of nearly 30 Vanderbilt faculty/physicians and staff will be working together on the project.


Saint Thomas Heart Adds Rodriguez, Expands Programming

Saint Thomas Heart recently added another physician to its expanding cardiac team. Based out of Saint Thomas Hospital, Evelio Rodriguez, MD, a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon, will serve as director of minimally invasive and robotic cardiac surgery and director of arrhythmia surgery.

With this addition, Saint Thomas Hospital will expand its breadth of procedures to treat patients with heart ailments. New procedures currently being offered include transcathether aortic valve replacement and robotic-assisted cardiac procedures for mitral valve repair, coronary bypass surgery and atrial fibrillation using the maze procedure. 

Rodriguez has an extensive background in cardiothoracic surgery and cardiovascular science, research, study and teaching. Previously, he served as associate medical director of the arrhythmia center at East Carolina Heart Institute at Pitt County Memorial Hospital and associate professor of Cardiovascular Sciences at East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine. Rodriguez received his medical degree from Albany Medical College. He completed his general surgery residency, cardiothoracic research and cardiothoracic surgery residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He also completed postgraduate fellowships at Eastern Carolina University Brody School of Medicine in minimally invasive and robotic cardiac surgery and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in congenital cardiac surgery.


TMA Now Offering HIPAA Compliance Training

It was announced last month that the Tennessee Medical Association is offering a new training course to help medical practices comply with federal requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The 30-minute course is available on the TMA website at at a cost of $25 per participant. “Employee HIPAA Training: Maintaining Privacy and Security” is designed to help healthcare employees and business associates understand and navigate HIPAA laws and apply them to day-to-day scenarios, and how to avoid or mitigate privacy and security breaches, legal sanctions and even civil or criminal fines and penalties. The federal government recently levied its first HIPAA civil money penalty against a small medical practice with a fine totaling $100,000, signaling that no matter the size of the practice, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) takes HIPAA violations seriously.


Mixed Results Define 2012 Tennessee Men’s Health Report Card

Heart disease is still the leading cause of death for men in Tennessee and cancer deaths continue to move further away from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Healthy People 2020 (HP2020) goal, according to the 2012 Tennessee Men’s Health Report Card released June 12 at LP Field in Nashville.

This year's report highlights some health victories but also shows areas where there is a need to improve, said Vanderbilt’s David Penson, MD, MPH, who chaired the Tennessee Men’s Health Report Card.

“Although heart disease is still the leading cause of death among men over age 65 in our state, we are getting straight A's when it comes to meeting our goals for reducing deaths from heart disease. In addition, while there is still room for improvement, we're getting A's and B's when it comes to preventive medical services, like influenza vaccination and colorectal cancer screening,” said Penson, a professor of Urologic Surgery. “Unfortunately, not all of the news is good.  We still are using too many tobacco products, which in turn has led to unacceptable rates of lung and head and neck cancer deaths. Almost a third of Tennessee men are obese, which greatly contributes to diabetes, hypertension and heart disease in our state,” he continued.

“More than anything, this report highlights the continued need for targeted education and prevention programs throughout the state of Tennessee,” said Charles P. Mouton, MD, MS, dean, School of Medicine & senior vice president for Health Affairs at Meharry Medical College. “Many disparities still exist for African-American men in Tennessee when compared to white men; particularly in the areas of cancer and HIV/AIDS. Prevention and early screening programs save lives and are key to long-standing improvement in the state’s health outcomes.”

To review the complete 2012 Tennessee Men's Health Report Card please go to


Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About!

Awards, Honors, Recognitions

Gary T. Podgorski, MD, a diagnostic radiologist on the medical staff at Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC), has been elected for a two-year term as president of the Tennessee Radiological Society. The board-certified radiologist, who received his medical degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and completed his residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, is affiliated with Southern Radiology Associates.

Osman Gabure, a family nurse practitioner at United Neighborhood Health Services and clinical instructor in the nursing program at Tennessee State University has been presented with the 2012 Local Hero Award from the Clinicians’ Network of the National Healthcare for the Homeless Council during the organization’s annual conference in Kansas City, Mo. He was one of only four nationally to receive the honor. The one-time Somalian refugee anchors the UNHS clinic at the Nashville Rescue Mission and also serves patients at the downtown clinic.

Cumberland Consulting Group has been named one of Healthcare Informatics Top 100 Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) Companies. Cumberland is listed as #95 on this year’s ranking of the nation’s top revenue-earning HIT companies.

ICA, a leading provider of interoperability technology that enables care management and health information exchange (HIE), announced last month that it had appointed Harry R. Jacobson, MD, as chairman of the board. Jacobson has had a long relationship with ICA, having been an advisor to the company since being founded in 2005. In addition, the company has appointed three new board members from Vanderbilt University – Alan R. Bentley, Christopher Harris and Kenneth G. Holroyd, MD, MBA, joined the board effective May 23, 2012.

The Meharry Medical College Board of Trustees recently announced the election of H. James Dallas, senior vice president, Quality and Operations for Medtronic, Inc., to the board effective July 1.

Pamela Davis, director of the TriStar Centennial Center for the Treatment of Obesity, was recently elected to the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Integrated Health (IH) Executive Council. In her new role as IH Member at Large (Nursing), Davis will represent ASMBS nursing professionals on the council. 

TriStar Centennial Medical Center was honored as Business Leader of the Year for the Nashville hospital industry during the Business Leader awards gala in Brentwood at the end of May. In June, the Arthritis Foundation – Tennessee Chapter recognized the hospital as their 2012 corporate honoree.

The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt was again named among the nation's leaders in pediatric healthcare in U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Children's Hospitals” rankings released last month. The 10 specialties recognized and their national rankings were as follows: Urology – 8th, Neonatology – 9th, Pulmonology – 21st (up from 36th in 2011), Diabetes & Endocrinology – 18th (up from 25th in 2011), Cancer – 45th, Cardiology & Heart Surgery – 21st, Gastroenterology – 42nd, Nephrology – 44th, Neurology & Neurosurgery – 41st, and Orthopaedics – 30th.

Several area hospitals received an “A” Hospital Safety ScoreSM by The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits, which recently evaluated more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals for safety. Maury Regional Medical Center, Williamson Medical Center, Baptist Hospital, Middle Tennessee Medical Center, Saint Thomas Hospital, Skyline Medical Center and Vanderbilt University Hospital all achieved the highest grade.

LifePoint Hospitals® recently announced Paul D. Gilbert, the company’s executive vice president and chief legal officer, has been named one of “10 General Counsels to Watch” for 2012 by Corporate Board Member, the leading information resource on governance and boardroom issues for corporate directors and C-suite officers of publicly traded corporations, large private companies and Global 1000 firms. Winners were recommended by past general counsel honorees, representatives of the top national corporate law firms and Corporate Board Member.


Recent Certifications, Accreditations & Commendations

TriStar Ashland City recently earned the American College of Radiology (ACR) gold seal of accreditation for computed tomography (CT) services.

TriStar Centennial recently received the UnitedHealth Premium® Total Joint Replacement Specialty Center designation in recognition of quality care.


Vanderbilt Offers New Therapy to Help Asthma Patients Breathe Easier

Last month, Vanderbilt announced it had become the first medical center in Nashville to offer the Alair Bronchial Thermoplasty System, which was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The first procedure, which takes about an hour, was performed on Hannah Andrews, 23, who has suffered with severe asthma since childhood. Otis Rickman, DO, director of bronchoscopy and assistant professor of Medicine and Thoracic Surgery, used a standard flexible bronchoscope introduced through the patient’s nose or mouth, and into the lungs. The tip of the small-diameter Alair catheter is expanded to contact the walls of targeted airways. Controlled thermal energy is then delivered to the airway walls to reduce the presence of excess airway smooth muscle that narrows the airways in patients with asthma. 

The minimally invasive procedure is done under moderate sedation, and the patient returns home the same day. Andrews will return to Vanderbilt for two more treatments to complete the series.

“This new therapy is an adjunct to other therapy and not a cure,” Rickman said. The Bronchial Thermoplasty System is indicated for the treatment of severe persistent asthma in patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long acting beta agonists.”

So far, the procedure has shown an 84 percent reduction in emergency room visits for respiratory symptoms; a 66 percent reduction in days lost from work, school or other daily activities due to asthma symptoms; and a 73 percent reduction in hospitalizations for respiratory symptoms. Asthma accounts for 2 million emergency room visits in the United States each year. Each day, roughly 40,000 unscheduled physician office visits, 5,000 emergency room visits, and 1,000 hospitalizations occur due to asthma, which affects an estimated 25.7 million people in America.


Watson to Succeed Otwell as CEO at Maury Regional

Alan Watson, current chief operating officer at Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC), has been selected to succeed Robert Otwell upon his retirement, according to MRMC Board of Trustees Chairman Doug Williamson. Otwell announced his long-term intention to retire two years ago.

Watson, who has approximately 30 years experience in the healthcare industry, has served as COO since February 2010. Prior to his position at MRMC, he was a CEO with Mercy Health Partners for four years, leading three community hospitals. Watson has also served as CEO of Bradley Memorial Hospital in Cleveland, Tenn. among other leadership posts.

MRMC is a 275-bed facility that serves more than 260,000 people in southern Middle Tennessee and has a medical staff of more than 200 physicians.


LifePoint Announces Promotions                                             

LifePoint Hospitals®, which operates 55 hospital campuses in 18 states, recently announced the following promotions at its Hospital Support Center in Brentwood. 

Melissa Waddey has been promoted from senior director to vice president of LifePoint’s Strategic Resource Group. She offers expertise in strategic planning, hospital operations and product/service line development. Prior to joining LifePoint in 2010, Waddey served as COO of Summit Medical Center and the Madison Campus of HCA’s Skyline Medical Center.

Mike Caplenor has been promoted from director to senior director of IT&S Service Management and Security. He joined LifePoint in 2005 and has more than 16 years of healthcare IT experience. Previously, he served Deloitte as manager, Enterprise Risk Assurance, and HCA as senior manager, IT Audit.

Sam Hutcheson has been promoted from director to senior director of Strategic Growth and Development. A member of the LifePoint team since 2008, he supports the company in the strategic negotiation and acquisition of hospitals, surgery centers and diagnostic facilities. Previously, he consulted with AIM Healthcare. 

Kim Reynolds has been promoted from senior director to vice president of Marketing. Prior to joining LifePoint in 2010, she was vice president, Marketing, at Ingram Book Group and director, Marketing and Communications, at Saint Thomas Health Services. She currently oversees LifePoint’s in-house marketing agency, which provides support to the company’s 55 hospitals nationwide.


BCBST Announces Staff Changes, Additions

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has recently announced a number of staff role changes plus a new addition to the team.

Emily Dockery has been named exchange outreach manager for the payer. Her new responsibilities include the day-to-day planning, development and implementation of communications and outreach efforts to key stakeholders for BlueCross about the health insurance Exchange for Tennessee, which will allow individuals to compare health insurance options and purchase coverage online beginning in 2014. Dockery began her career at BCBST in 2005 as the senior writer for BlueCross’ corporate communications department. She earned her degree in journalism and public relations from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Christopher L. Ramsey has been chosen as director of the Office of Health Care Reform of BCBST. In this new role, he will lead efforts of BlueCross to adapt business practices to comply with the federal healthcare reform law. Most recently, he served as BCBST’s director of vendor and pharmacy contracting. He has earned an MBA from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and an undergraduate degree in business administration from Austen Peay State University.

Christy Vitulli has been named vice president of provider networks and contracting. In this position, Vitulli will play a vital role in the management of provider contracting activities throughout all lines of business, including commercial, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid. She will lead contracting strategies, execute network requirements for the health insurance exchange and develop and manage new provider payment models, in addition to overseeing the development and managerial functions associated with the strategic planning and daily operation of the provider network team.

Vitulli has previous BCBST experience and held leadership positions at John Deere Health and with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida. Vitulli received her undergraduate degree from Texas A&M and earned an MBA from Lipscomb University. She will be based out of the Nashville office and will work with providers statewide.


M*Modal Appoints CMIO

Last month, M*Modal, a leading provider of clinical documentation services and speech understanding technology solutions, announced Jonathan A. Handler, MD, FACEP has joined the company in the new position of chief medical information officer.

In his new role, Handler will focus his expertise and unique viewpoint as a physician on the design and implementation of M*Modal’s technology solutions. Handler is a board-certified emergency physician with 20 years of experience in medical informatics. In addition to more than a decade of clinical practice at academic medical centers, he previously served as chief deployment architect for Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group, director of Azyxxi Development at the National Institute for Medical Informatics, and director of Emergency Medicine Research and Informatics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where he remains an Adjunct Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine.


Fick Named SVP & CFO at Haven Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.

Haven Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., a provider of behavioral healthcare for adults, senior citizens and active-duty military personnel, recently announced the addition of John T. Fick as the senior vice president and chief financial officer.

Fick’s primary responsibilities will be to monitor Haven’s current financial initiatives and to implement new strategies for future financial decisions. Most recently, Fick served as senior vice president corporate controller and treasurer at Nashville-based Essent Healthcare Inc. He also held the position of financial operations for PhyCor, Inc. Fick earned a B.S. from the University of New Orleans.


Wellness Solutions of Tennessee Expands

Wellness Solutions of Tennessee, a provider of medical and mental healthcare to residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities, continues its expansion by adding the psychiatric services of collaborating psychiatrist, John W. Cain II, MD.

Cain, who has been the collaborating psychiatrist for Wellness Solutions since 2005, will continue to collaborate with all of Wellness Solutions of Tennessee’s psychiatric nurse practitioners to ensure appropriate medical oversight and optimal clinical, psychiatric outcomes, plus provide collaborative psychiatric supervision for Wellness Solutions in long-term care facilities across Tennessee. His private practice will be located in the Wellness Solutions Nashville offices on 21st Avenue South.

Cain graduated from David Lipscomb College and then earned his medical degree from James Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City.  He performed his psychiatric residency at Vanderbilt University’s psychiatric hospital. His prior experience includes serving as medical director of the geriatric psychiatry unit at Riverside Hospital in Woodbury, Tenn., as well as the geriatric psychiatric medical director at Nashville Rehabilitation Hospital.


News from Qualifacts

Nashville-based Qualifacts, the largest Software as a Service (SaaS) provider of EHR and billing systems for behavioral health and human services providers, recently added Jim Roling as the new director of software engineering where he will lead the company’s product development function.

Roling brings more than 20 years of experience working with and leading teams at large technology and healthcare providers to Qualifacts. Most recently, he was the director of software engineering for MedPlus, a business unit of Quest Diagnostics, where he led the development, testing and deployment of their web-based electronic health record.

In other news, the company made its first foray into New York with the announcement last month that Astor Services for Children & Families had selected Qualifacts’ web-based electronic health record, CareLogic Enterprise, to coordinate services at 30 sites. In May, Qualifacts donated $2,500 to Mental Health First Aid in the names of three national advocates as part of National Mental Health Awareness Month.


Seibels Named CFO for Change Healthcare

William Seibels has been named chief financial officer for Change Healthcare Corporation, which hopes to achieve sustainable consumer engagement with personalized and actionable information that changes the way people purchase healthcare services.

Seibels is a seasoned financial executive who brings more than a decade of experience in finance and operations for venture capital and private-equity-backed companies to his role with Change Healthcare. Most recently, he served as senior vice president and chief of staff at Onlife Health. He holds undergraduate degrees in English and general business from the University of Mississippi and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.


CSS Health Technologies Hires Industry Leader as Sales SVP

CSS Health Technologies, a Nashville-based provider of IT solutions for rural and community hospitals, recently announced the appointment of Carl Schneider to the position of senior vice president of Sales.  In his role, Schneider will oversee the company’s national expansion. 

Schneider’s previous experience encompasses an extensive 30-year background in the healthcare technology industry. He served as vice president sales and marketing for Nashville-based HMS and has also worked with QuadraMed, digiChart and Baxter.


New Edition of Healthcare Design Book by ESa Authors Released

W.W. Norton & Company recently rolled out the third edition of Hospital and Healthcare Facility Design, authored by Earl Swensson Associates (ESa) executives Richard L. Miller, FAIA, Earl S. Swensson, FAIA, and Todd Robinson, AIA.

Upon its original release, the editor of Healthcare Design magazine proclaimed the book a “healthcare design Bible,” and it is now a standard for healthcare architects, planners, students and hospital administrators. The new edition of the book expands coverage of the timely and important topics covered in the two previous editions, such as women’s and children’s healthcare and care for the elderly. It also explores the latest advances on everything from medical campuses and freestanding facilities to continuous-care senior living communities. New case studies and updated text provide ideas and practical guidelines for planning and designing facilities to accommodate the evolving world of healthcare.


Dickinson Wright Announces Significant Addition to the Firm’s Healthcare Practice

Dickinson Wright PLLC recently announced the addition of James M. Burns to the firm's Healthcare Practice Group, which is led by Neil Krugman. 

Burns, who joined the firm as a member, focuses his practice on the antitrust issues facing entities in the healthcare industry, including the representation of hospitals, provider groups and health insurers in such matters and brings more than 25 years experience to his new post.


Waller Lansden Adds Patent Attorney

Waller Lansden has recently added a new patent attorney with science background to the firm’s intellectual property group. Kelly Hollowell, PhD, has her doctorate in molecular and cellular pharmacology, in addition to a law degree. Her work will focus on patent and trademark prosecution, and patent litigation, including intellectual property management and licensing.

Prior to joining Waller Lansden, she practiced in Virginia Beach.  

Hollowell received her undergraduate degree in biology and mathematics from the University of South Florida, her doctorate in molecular and cellular pharmacology from the University of Miami School of Medicine and her law degree from Regent University Law School.


Aegis Hires One, Promotes Two

Aegis Sciences Corporation recently promoted two of its laboratory staff and hired a new research scientist as the company continues to grow.

Ryan Paulsen, PhD, formerly a research scientist for the Research and Development team at Aegis, has been promoted to director of Healthcare Services. Paulsen came to Aegis with a strong background in small molecule analysis using both GC/MS and LC-MS/MS. Since joining the company, he has continued to expand his knowledge in the forensic toxicology field and has contributed to the success of many R&D projects. His most recent work has been focused on developing a robust, fully comprehensive urine benzodiazepine extraction and analytical method. He earned a bachelor of science in chemistry and doctorate in medicinal chemistry from the University of Utah.

Rebecca Heltsley, PhD, former director of Research and Development, has been promoted to assistant vice president of R&D. Heltsley, who joined Aegis in May 2007, has seen significant growth in the R&D department under her direction. Heltsley earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry, environmental science and biology and master’s degree in chemistry from Western Kentucky University. She received her doctorate in environmental toxicology from North Carolina State University.

Min Huang , PhD, recently joined Aegis as a research scientist on the R&D team. He has extensive experience with nutrition chemistry and food safety, including LC-MS and LC-MS/MS techniques for quantitation of various small molecules, including vitamins and other nutrients, drugs and contaminants. Additionally, Huang has over 20 years experience with various analytical techniques and holds four U.S. patents. He received his doctorate in chemistry from Wuhan University, China.


MTSA Names Hulin New Dean

Christopher P. Hulin, CRNA, DNP, APN, became dean/program director of the Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia (MTSA) effective July 1. In his new position, Hulin, who was previously assistant program administrator, will oversee continued growth at the school including the implementation of a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree.

In addition to his role at MTSA, Dr. Hulin works as an anesthesia provider at Sumner Regional Medical Center in Gallatin, Nashville General Hospital and other clinical sites in the area. He holds licenses in Alabama, North Carolina, Nebraska, Kentucky, Texas and Tennessee. Hulin also has extensive healthcare administration experience including assignments as vice president of operations for Florida Hospital Ormond Memorial Division and director of home health services for the Kettering Medical Center Network in Ohio.

Hulin earned his Doctor of Nursing Practice with a focus in Education from Samford University in 2010 and holds three graduate degrees from MTSA, Regis University and Vanderbilt University.

Following a national search, Hulin was selected to replace Mary Elizabeth “Ikey“ DeVasher, CRNA, PhD, APN, who served at MTSA for nearly 40 years.


Northcutt-Knox Joins @Home Care, Bradley Promoted

Murfreesboro-based @Home Care, which provides in-home care to Middle Tennesseans, has created two new executive positions, adding one staff member and promoting another.

Faye Northcutt-Knox will be responsible for @Home Care office operations and Warren Family Services, LLC, business operations. She comes to the company from Alive Hospice and previously worked with Women’s Health Specialists, Columbia Stones River Hospital and Methodist Health Systems.

Cheryl Bradley will be responsible for overseeing @Home Care scheduling and implementing new processes to ensure clients receive the best care. Bradley also will mentor the care coordinators and provide coaching and training assistance with the company’s more than 120 home health aides. Bradley has worked with @Home Care for more than two years prior to her promotion. She previously owned Avis Car Rental in Murfreesboro and is a Leadership Rutherford graduate.


WellNow Urgent Care Opens Two New Clinics

Nashville-based WellNow Urgent Care continues its growth with the opening of two new Middle Tennessee clinics in Dickson and Springfield. The Dickson Clinic opened in the spring following the acquisition and renovation of the former Walk-In Quick Care, and the Springfield site opened a few weeks later.

Both centers will provide illness and injury urgent care, wellness care services and occupational medicine. Care is delivered through a mix of primary care physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. In addition, Tommy Warmbrod, the former owner of Walk-in Quick Care, has been named regional director of operations for the Middle Tennessee district of WellNow. The Dickson and Springfield clinics join five other Middle Tennessee locations in the WellNow Urgent Care network, including centers in Portland, White House, Hendersonville, Murfreesboro and Nolensville.


Mayer Joins Wiseman Ashworth Law Group as Of Counsel

Minton P. Mayer has joined Wiseman Ashworth Law Group, PLC and will work with attorneys in the firm’s Nashville and Memphis offices on civil litigation matters in the areas of medical malpractice, long-term healthcare, personal injury defense, and professional negligence defense.

He was previously affiliated with Adelman Law Firm, PLLC and Spicer, Flynn & Rudstrom in Memphis. Mayer is a graduate of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis and holds an undergraduate degree in Rhetoric and Communications from Kent State University.


NeighborMD Announces Plans for Fifth Middle Tennessee Location

NeighborMD recently announced it has secured a location and begun construction for its fifth Middle Tennessee center. The Lebanon facility, which will be the western end cap of the Lebanon Publix Shopping Center on West Main Street, is expected to open this fall.

After opening its first location in Hermitage in January 2011, NeighborMD announced plans to expand to approximately 23 regional urgent care centers within four years. All NeighborMD centers have a physician on-site at all times enabling the centers to treat a broad spectrum of patients. In addition, centers have on-site diagnostic lab capabilities, digital x-ray and dispensary with common medications in stock.


Local Dentist Contributes Smiles to Homeless

Joseph P. Wiggs, DDS, a Nashville-based family and cosmetic dentist, recently hosted a Contributing Smiles Dental Clinic, the second in a series of planned clinics to help address the lack of quality dental care for individuals in need including the area’s working poor, women and children. The second event focused on offering free dental services to the vendors of The Contributor, a local newspaper focused on homelessness and poverty that is distributed solely on the streets by a homeless and formerly homeless sales team.

“We created Contributing Smiles to restore and improve the oral health of disadvantaged individuals in our community and are looking forward to working with additional groups as we continue our clinics in the future,” said Wiggs.


Lam-Andrews Announces New Art Directors

Lam-Andrews, a Nashville-based strategic marketing, public relations and interactive firm specializing in healthcare, has named David Barlar and Jon Kincaid as art directors. 

David Barlar joined the Lam-Andrews team in May 2011. His previous work includes stints at XK3 as a graphic designer specializing in healthcare marketing projects, and as an art designer for the PBS documentary series, Road Trip Nation. 

Prior to joining the Lam-Andrews creative team in September 2011, Jon Kincaid served as art director at Primedia and previously at the Harmon Group, where he oversaw the creative work of production artists and designers for a broad spectrum of retail clients.


Children’s Hospital Opens Pediatric Neurovascular Center

Stroke isn't typically thought of as a childhood condition, but it is as common as brain tumors in children. Therefore, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt has launched a new Pediatric Neurovascular Center to treat childhood stroke and other complex neurovascular diseases including brain aneurysms, arteriovenus malformations (AVM) and vein of Galen Malformations, cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM), developmental venous anomalies, moyamoya and stroke.

The new center provides an integrated approach to care for children bringing different areas of neurological expertise — medical, surgical, diagnostic, therapeutic — under one program to provide comprehensive, coordinated assessments and treatments for young patients.


TriStar Natchez Medical Park Freestanding ED Approved

The Certificate of Need for the TriStar ER at TriStar Natchez Medical Park, which will be just the second freestanding emergency room in Tennessee, was recently approved. A facility of TriStar Horizon Medical Center, the new ER will provide 24-hour emergency services from board-certified emergency medicine physicians. The 13,483-square-foot ER will offer emergency diagnostic and treatment services and will utilize the adjoining Natchez Imaging for diagnostic tests such as CT scanning, and MRI. A helipad will also be installed to help expedite patient transfer should they need a higher level of care. Plans to break ground are being made for the late fall.


LifeFlight Adds New Helicopter to Fleet

Vanderbilt LifeFlight has added a new aircraft to its fleet, in an effort to better serve the residents of Middle Tennessee. The new helicopter now brings the total to six, with five of those staffed around the clock. The sixth helicopter is used as a backup when others are out of service for maintenance.  

The new aircraft, LifeFlight 5, is an American Eurocopter EC 130. It has a cruising speed of 130 knots, or 150 mph, and is equipped with 360-degree access to the patient, air conditioning, state-of-the-art navigation, a communications and avionics package that includes night vision goggles, a terrain avoidance warning system and a synthetic vision system. 

Rather than black, gold and white, the new craft is painted in blue and silver to differentiate it from the rest of the fleet while it is being evaluated. The new craft has lower clearance around the blades and loads from the side, rather than the rear. The evaluation period could last a year or longer as staff and leadership review the advanced safety features and the 360-degree access to the patient on the EC 130.


BlueCross Unveils Bundled Payment Agreements with Leading Orthopaedic Groups

Recently, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced agreements with four respected orthopaedic practices for a new bundled payment system focused on patient care, quality and outcomes for total knee and hip replacements. 

Participating practices are Vanderbilt Medical Group and Tennessee Orthopaedic Alliance in Nashville, Campbell Clinic in Memphis and the Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic.

“This system is generally considered a new payment methodology, but make no mistake, this is a collaborative tool we can use to improve health outcomes and the patient experience,” said Tom Lundquist, MD, vice president of performance measurement and improvement of healthcare services for BlueCross. “This is a unique opportunity for our partners to help drive change in delivery systems and to move toward a sustainable program that provides the best medical value for our members.”

Working directly with these four practices, BlueCross will use its significant data resources to identify the variation patterns in delivery of care across the state and then pinpoint best practices that produce optimal care and outcomes. BlueCross’ bundled payments will provide a set payment amount for the entire episode of care for total knee and hip replacements, including the surgery, post care and physical therapy. The new payment structure is set to launch Oct. 1 for all major lines of business.


Sumner Regional Medical Center Geriatric-Psychiatric Unit Up and Running

Sumner Regional Medical Center CEO Mary Jo Lewis announced the flagship hospital of HighPoint Health System has expanded its specialized services in post-acute care with the opening of a new 12-bed geriatric-psychiatric unit, or Restorative Care Unit, at the hospital on May 1.

The Restorative Care Unit’s professional treatment team is committed to assisting senior adults enhance their quality of life, said Lewis. She explained, there are many factors that uniquely affect the elderly patient, including the use of multiple medications to treat various medical complications that come with aging, physical impairments that limit mobility and activities of daily living, and the many life changes and losses that take from their financial, social, and emotional support systems when most needed.

Treatment at SRMC’s Restorative Care Unit provides a balanced mix of psychiatric and medical care in a unit designed specifically to meet the safety needs required by this population,” said Anne Melton, RN, MSN, chief nursing officer for SRMC. Treatment program services include: evaluation and treatment, diagnostic services, medication evaluation, dietary evaluation, medical treatment, group counseling, individual counseling, inpatient treatment, physical rehabilitation, recreational therapy, discharge planning, discharge and follow up.

The Restorative Care Unit will operate under the direction of Medical Director Pranahitha Reddy, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist, and Program Director Andrea R. Hurtienne, RN, MSN. 


Cumberland Consulting Promotes Pourkermani

This spring, Cumberland Consulting Group, LLC announced the promotion of Saman Pourkermani to executive consultant. Since joining Cumberland in 2007, he has led health information technology (HIT) implementation projects for a broad range of organizations throughout the country, including ambulatory and acute health systems, insurance corporations, community health networks and correctional medical services providers. 

Pourkermani specializes in HIT systems configuration, testing, end-user training and implementation support. He holds a Master of Science in Management Information Systems and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois in Chicago. Prior to joining Cumberland, Pourkermani served as a senior analyst for Accenture.


Scott Memorial Signs Letter of Intent with The Regional Health Network of Kentucky & Indiana

Marking the first transaction for the new joint venture between Norton Healthcare and Brentwood-based LifePoint Hospitals, the board of directors of 25-bed critical access Scott Memorial Hospital in Scottsburg, Ind. signed a letter of intent to lease the hospital to The Regional Health Network of Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

As part of the proposed lease with Scott Memorial, the new company would operate the hospital, with LifePoint being the managing partner and Norton Healthcare being the clinical partner.    


St. Vincent Health Selects ARx for Extended Revenue Cycle Services to Help Drive Financial Performance

Indiana-based St. Vincent Health is expanding its long-term relationship with Franklin-based ARx, adding extended revenue cycle management services to more of its facilities to help increase cash flow and improve margins. ARx will assist in the management of billing, revenue recovery and accounts receivables collections.

ARx will also assist St. Vincent in the migration of two of its hospitals into the organization’s central business office (CBO) operations center. The two newest hospitals are St. Vincent Salem Hospital, a 25-bed facility in Salem, Ind., and St. Joseph’s Hospital, a 186-bed facility in Kokomo, Ind. ARx will guide the hospitals through the implementation of proven, best practice processes for sustainable financial and operational improvement as part of the third-party billing and collections services ARx will be providing.


Caverna Memorial Chooses Integrated Suite of Clinical & Financial Applications from HMS

Caverna Memorial Hospital in Horse Cave, Ky. has chosen an integrated suite of clinical and financial applications from Nashville-based Healthcare Management Systems Inc.® (HMS) to help enhance the quality of care while also preparing the hospital for meaningful use attestation.

After a thorough review process that included clinicians and department heads making site visits, hospital officials chose to partner with HMS.


Capella Healthcare and Muskogee Community Hospital Sign Definitive Agreement

A definitive agreement has been signed between Muskogee Community Hospital in Oklahoma and Capella Healthcare, which is scheduled to enter into a long-term lease and assume management of the 45-bed hospital as early as July 1.

Capella Healthcare already operates Muskogee Regional Medical Center, having entered into a 40-year long-term lease of the 275-bed acute-care hospital in April of 2007. Muskogee Community Hospital, a physician-owned and operated facility licensed for 45 beds, was opened in 2009. 


Heritage Group Closes Healthcare Innovation Fun at $157 Million, Announces First Two Investments

Heritage Group announced last month the official closing of the Heritage Healthcare Innovation Fund LP at $157 million, as well as consummation of its first two investments. The strategic fund was launched in January 2011, to identify and invest in businesses that create value in the delivery of healthcare services.

“The Fund’s mix of limited partners, which include some of the nation’s leading hospital systems and healthcare companies across many sectors, reflects where healthcare is headed: towards a more collaborative approach to the delivery of care,” said Paul Wallace, Heritage Group Managing Director.

Since the Fund’s launch, Heritage Group has evaluated investment opportunities in more than 450 companies from various sectors of the healthcare industry and has focused on technology-enabled services, which represent more than 90 percent of all the companies evaluated. The Fund’s initial portfolio company is San Diego-based Awarepoint Corporation, which provides real-time location system (RTLS) solutions that allow health systems to track medical equipment, patients and personnel enterprise-wide to optimize healthcare workflow and improve patient care while decreasing costs. The Fund has also made an investment in Explorys, a Cleveland-based provider of big-data management solutions. Originally inspired at the Cleveland Clinic, the Explorys technology provides cloud-based data mining and advanced analytics, enabling provider systems to better understand their patient populations to reduce costs, provide higher quality care and improve patient outcomes.