Grand Rounds May
Alive Hospice Names O’Neal New CEO

Veteran healthcare executive Anna-Gene O’Neal took the reigns at Alive Hospice as CEO on April 1. She has oversight of the nonprofit agency’s hospice care, palliative care and grief support programs in a service area of 12 Middle Tennessee counties, as well as leading a staff of nearly 350 employees and 315 volunteers.

O’Neal comes to her new position from Brentwood-based Cogent HMG, where she served as senior vice president of quality and performance improvement for the nation’s largest private hospitalist company. A registered nurse, She holds three degrees from Vanderbilt — a BSN, an MSN in nursing administration and an MBA in organizational management. Nashville Medical News recognized O’Neal’s contributions to healthcare by naming her to the prestigious “Women to Watch” class of 2008.


Vanderbilt Research Finds Immune Cells Linked to Obesity-Related Inflammation 

Obesity occurs against a background of chronic, low-level inflammation that can trigger insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. Now researchers at Vanderbilt University have discovered that an unusual set of immune cells, called invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT cells), can fan the flames of obesity-related inflammation.

The findings, reported last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), suggest that targeting these cells could lead to new ways to prevent metabolic disorders in obesity.

While conventional T cells are activated by protein fragments to attack invading pathogens, iNKT cells recognize fat molecules (lipids) and sugar-modified fat molecules (glycolipids). It’s this attraction to fat that brings iNKT cells into the obesity arena. In their mice studies, Vanderbilt researchers found a high-fat diet promoted “hyperresponsiveness” in iNKT cells, leading to overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines, worsening tissue inflammation, insulin resistance and excessive accumulation of lipids by the liver. This was not observed in mice that lacked iNKT cells. “The consistent results … point toward iNKT cells … as the main culprits,” the researchers concluded.

While the exact mechanism linking excess dietary lipid to iNKT cell activation is not yet known, “our findings suggest that selective depletion of iNKT cells with a … specific antibody might be beneficial in protecting (people) from obesity-associated metabolic disease,” they wrote.


TriStar Health First in State to Utilize Mobile Technology for Cardiac Care

TriStar Health has become the first Tennessee health system to use a secure mobile patient monitoring application, AirStrip CARDIOLOGY, to read electrocardiographs (ECG). The new technology allows cardiologists to review, analyze and manage near real-time ECG data on an iPhone® and iPad®, leading to faster diagnosis and treatment.

“AirStrip CARDIOLOGY supports our commitment to implementing the latest technology that transforms the way our physicians care for their cardiac patients,” said Doug Ardoin, MD, chief medical officer at TriStar Health. “Having ECG information directly available on a mobile device provides faster access and more precise data to off-site physicians, saving time and improving outcomes.”

TriStar Health installed the AirStrip CARDIOLOGY technology at three hospitals: Centennial Medical Center, Skyline Medical Center and Summit Medical Center. TriStar plans to expand usage to additional Davidson County facilities in the near future.


Vanderbilt Heart Uses First FDA-Approved Treatment for Heart Disease in Patients with Diabetes

Vanderbilt Heart recently used a newly approved medical device to open narrowed coronary arteries, even in heart disease patients who also have diabetes. Vanderbilt took part in a clinical study that supported FDA approval for the Resolute Integrity Drug-Eluting Stent (DES) from Medtronic.

The Resolute Integrity DES is the first and only heart stent to be FDA-approved for treating patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) who also have diabetes. About one-third of all patients –– an estimated 300,000 people in the United States alone –– who receive a stent each year have diabetes. Historically it’s been difficult to treat CAD patients with diabetes because they tend to have smaller coronary arteries and persistently elevated blood-sugar levels, which can increase the rate of procedural complications and long-term safety risks. The Resolute Integrity drug-eluting stent is a tiny mesh cylinder designed to prop open a narrowed artery. It is coated with medication that is designed to prevent the artery from narrowing again.


WMC First in Area to Offer Next-Generation Robotic Surgery

Williamson Medical Center recently became the first hospital in Middle Tennessee to incorporate a groundbreaking fluorescence imaging technology for the treatment of renal tumors. The imaging technology, available on the da Vinci Si robotic surgical system, offers the capability of providing real-time, image-guided identification of key anatomical landmarks. The specially designed camera and endoscopes allow surgeons to capture images of tissue and surrounding blood vessels by injecting a green-colored dye that is then activated by near-infrared light. The camera can then switch views between standard real-time images and images illuminated by the dye.

“Florescence imaging capability allows us to isolate cancerous tissue. Previously, the diagnosis of a kidney tumor often called for the removal of the entire kidney, or for the removal of enough of the kidney to render it non-functional following surgery. Now, with the addition of the new imaging technology, healthy tissue is identified with as bright, neon green while cancer tissue stays dark. As a result, we can remove cancerous tissue with much more accuracy, and at the time of the surgery we are much more confident there is no cancer left behind,” said Joel Locke, MD, a urologist with Franklin Urological Associates who was the first at WMC to perform the state-of-the-art surgery.


Tennessee HIMSS Launches Workforce Initiative

At the end of March, members of the board of the Tennessee Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) announced details of their workforce initiative, delivering on a promise to provide opportunities for healthcare IT students and professionals during the next calendar year.

During 2012, the Tennessee HIMSS Board will lead this initiative by providing the following opportunities and resources from within their own organizations:

§       50 internship positions with a focus on healthcare IT including clinical analytics, HIS/EMR implementations, security, networking, and more;

§       500 hours of volunteer collaboration with educators, students, and professionals, in an effort to represent the needs of healthcare providers in Tennessee; and

§       A published a list of internship opportunities by April 12, 2012 at

Mark Gilliam, vice president and CIO of Ardent Health Services, and current chair of the Tennessee HIMSS Workforce Committee, said in support of the announcement, “We face a host of challenges within the healthcare industry today and as those challenges increase in the years to come, technology will play an expanding role in addressing them. We need highly trained workers and leaders to bring those solutions to bear, so I’m excited that Tennessee HIMSS will be offering these opportunities to support our workforce.”

During the fourth quarter of 2011, more than 1,000 technology-related jobs were available in Middle Tennessee alone, and the healthcare industry was the single largest provider.


Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About!

Awards, Honors, Recognitions

Saint Thomas Health Services and Vanderbilt University Medical Center were both named to Becker's Hospital Review/Becker's ASC Review list of “100 Great Places to Work in Healthcare,” which recognizes organizations that encourage a healthy work/life balance and create an outstanding workplace through robust benefits, opportunities for development and a strong sense of community. 

The American Hospital Association has named Scott Raynes, president and CEO of NorthCrest Medical Center a “2012 Grassroots Champion.” Working with state affiliates, the AHA recognized 52 individuals across the nation for exceptional leadership in generating grassroots and community activity in support of a hospital’s mission.

Last month, Saad Ehtisham, CEO of University Medical Center in Lebanon, was named one of the “Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare 2012” by Modern Healthcare Magazine.

Pelayo Correa, MD, professor of Medicine and Pathology at Vanderbilt University, was recently recognized by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and its Minorities in Cancer Research membership group with the Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship during the AACR 2012 Annual Meeting, held in Chicago last month. During the same meeting, Stephen W. Fesik, PhD, professor of Biochemistry, Pharmacology and Chemistry at Vanderbilt University, received the 2012 AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research.

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigators have won two of the five global innovation grants awarded by the “GE Healthymagination Cancer Challenge.” The grants were awarded to Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD, director of VICC, and the My Cancer Genome project, developed by Mia Levy, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics, and William Pao, MD, PhD, director of the Division of Hematology and Oncology. Each VICC group will receive $100,000 from GE to support their cancer research efforts.

Mark Poppell, vice president, Reimbursement at LifePoint, has been appointed to the Rural Health Congress, the policy-making body of the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).  Poppell will be offering expertise on key public policy issues in rural healthcare. Lanny Copeland, MD, LifePoint’s CMO, has been appointed to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment. The panel advises the HHS Secretary and CMS on the clinical integrity of hospital outpatient payments and supervision requirements for hospital outpatient services, including services provided by critical access hospitals.   

Gresham, Smith and Partners, a multi-disciplinary design and consulting firm for the built environment, was honored in late March as one of the top three out of 108 entries nationwide in Kaiser Permanente’s “Small Hospital, Big Idea” competition. GS&P’s design entry was a 96-bed, 225,076-square-foot “hospital of the future” and accompanying medical office buildings.


Recent Certifications, Accreditations & Commendations

Oral Surgical Institute (OSI) of Nashville recently was granted a three-year term of accreditation in Dental CT by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC), making it the first oral and maxillofacial surgical office in the country to become an IAC-accredited Cone Beam CT scan imaging center.

Demonstrating a commitment to increasing breastfeeding rates in Davidson County, Baptist Hospital, Centennial Medical Center, Nashville General Hospital and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital were designated in April as the four local hospitals to successfully complete the NashVitality “Give Me Five” initiative. To achieve the designation, each hospital completed five steps toward improving breastfeeding policy and practice within their hospitals. “Give Me Five” helps highlight the incremental successes, as hospitals work towards adopting the 10 Steps for Breastfeeding Success model developed by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACOS) has awarded Baptist Hospital’s cancer program the Outstanding Achievement Award. Baptist is one of a select group of 106 currently accredited and newly accredited cancer programs across the United States and the only program in Tennessee classified as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Program to be granted the honor.


Morrell Named President, COO of MAG Mutual

On April 23, Neil Morrell began his tenure as president and chief operating officer for Atlanta-based MAG Mutual Insurance Company, which provides medical professional liability insurance in Tennessee and much of the Southeast. Joseph S. Wilson, Jr., MD, remains chairman and CEO of the company founded in 1982 by physicians.

Morrell served most recently as executive vice president and managing director for Willis Re in Chicago where he was responsible for strategy and operations for the company's U.S. Healthcare Practice Group. Throughout his tenure with Willis Re, Morrell represented MAG Mutual in the reinsurance market and has served as a trusted advisor to the insurance company. Before joining Willis Re in 2003, he served with several Lloyd's of London syndicates in the United Kingdom. He holds a law degree from the University of Reading and qualifies as a barrister at the Inns of Court School of Law in London.


Recchia Joins Tennessee Retina

Tennessee Retina recently welcomed Franco M. Recchia, MD, to its physician staff. Previously part of the faculty of Vanderbilt Eye Institute, Recchia served as chief of the Retina Division and director of the Fellowship in Vitreoretinal Diseases and Surgery. He specializes in adult and pediatric diseases and surgery of the retina and vitreous. Recchia is seeing patients at Tennessee Retina’s offices in Murfreesboro and Nashville, as well as other select satellite offices.


BlueCross Names Leaders for HIE, Strategic Marketing

Michael Eiselstein has been appointed to lead BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s planning for the health insurance exchange, as created under the Affordable Care Act. As director of individual products, he will oversee the development of products for BlueCross to improve access to health insurance and wellness benefits through this new marketplace. Eiselstein has worked at BlueCross for 13 years. Before being promoted to manager of individual products in 2006, he served as an actuarial analyst and as a large group underwriter. He earned a degree from Middle Tennessee State University.

Carla Raynor has been named vice president of strategic marketing for all lines of business. In this role, she will direct enterprise-wide marketing strategy with a focus on consumer, group and ancillary products. Raynor joins BlueCross with more than 17 years of professional experience. Most recently at Hilton Worldwide, she held the position of vice president of brand marketing - Extended Stay Brands. Raynor has also worked for several advertising agencies and for Harrah’s Entertainment group. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga.


Mt. Juliet Optometrist First in Tennessee to Offer Onefit for Those Unable to Wear Contacts

A new eye product promises comfortable vision for those unable to wear contact lenses due to dry eyes or corneal defects. Onefit works like a contact lens but with a major difference — it doesn’t touch the cornea, which is highly sensitive.

Brad Altman, optometrist with Franklin-Altman Family Eye Care in Mt. Juliet, said, “It actually rests on the less-sensitive white area of the eyeball, and the cornea is protected by a cushion of fluid. These devices are ideal for many problem eyes. They can correct astigmatism in most cases, and they stay in.”

The vision aid has just been recently released by the manufacturer and is now available to the public. Altman is the first doctor in Tennessee trained in prescribing and fitting the devices, which are custom-made for each patient.


TriStar Centennial Medical Center Announces New VPs

In April, TriStar Centennial Medical Center announced Trudi Lovinski, RN, CPHQ, had been promoted from director to vice president of Quality and Risk Management. She will provide oversight to Centennial’s expanding efforts to reach the top percentile for core measures, eliminate hospital acquired infections, identify and mitigate exposures for Centennial, and to continue serving as a patient advocate. Lovinski holds an undergraduate degree from the College of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill. and her nursing licensure through Wheeling Hospital School of Nursing in West Virginia.

Also last month, Joseph Mazzo, RN, CEN, was promoted to the vice president of Clinical Operations. He began at Centennial in 2009 as the director of Emergency Department Services. In his new role, Mazzo will oversee bed management, critical care, and med/surg nursing. He will also be responsible for oversight of the new TriStar freestanding emergency department in Spring Hill. Mazzo received his nursing degree from Queens College in Charlotte, N.C. and a master’s from Columbia University in New York.


nTelagent iPad App Makes Healthcare Registration, Patient Payments Mobile

Last month, nTelagent, Inc. announced its fully integrated, point-of-service solution for managing healthcare accounts receivable is now available for the iPad. Once restricted to the registration desk, all front-end patient access processes – from address validation to payment processing – can now take place anywhere in the clinic, hospital or emergency department. “Since 2003, nTelagent has been revolutionizing how healthcare providers interact with patients at point of service. Now that nTelagent is available on the iPad, registrars and financial counselors using our platform can meet patients wherever is most convenient, from the waiting area to the patient floors,” explained Earl Winter, nTelagent CEO


Jarrard Launches Two New Healthcare Blogs

Last month, Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock launch two blogs for healthcare professionals. “Jack of All Trades” is written for hospital marketing directors and communications executives, and “High Stakes” is targeted to hospital CEOs and those that advise them. Each blog offers timely tips and expert advice for effectively communicating in the midst today’s dramatically changing healthcare landscape. The new offerings join the firm’s popular “Inside Baseball” observations on the industry. Free subscriptions to all three are available through the website at


Centerstone, Genomind Study Genetic Test for Patients with Major Depressive Disorder 

Centerstone, the nation's largest provider of community-based behavioral healthcare, and Genomind, a company focused on neuropsychiatric personalized medicine, have announced they have begun a pilot study examining the use of a proprietary genetic test in assisting clinicians with treatment selections for patients with major depressive disorder. The Genecept™ Assay, analyzes 20 genetic variants in 10 different genes that can provide information regarding how a patient will respond to antidepressant medications.

“For decades, psychiatrists have looked for clues in the clinical symptomatology of depressed patients to help us select the antidepressant that is most likely to be effective,” said Karen Rhea, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Centerstone. “But matching an individual to one of the many antidepressants available based on symptoms alone can be difficult. In fact, research has shown that many of the antidepressants on the market work on only about half of the people who try them.  Recently discovered genetic links to drug response holds great potential in helping us to better match individuals to the right antidepressants for them.”


Care Technology Systems Names New CEO

Healthcare technology veteran, Robert Hendrick, has been named chief executive officer of Care Technology Systems, Inc., a Nashville-based healthcare start-up that has developed innovative technology for the aging-in-place industry. The company’s technology is integrated into the senior’s daily life and works in the background, alerting caregivers or a call center when there is an issue or threat to the senior’s health and safety.

Hendrick was co-founder and COO of Change Healthcare Corporation, another local healthcare company that specializes in helping consumers use cost transparency to change the way they purchase healthcare. Hendrick has either founded or worked with a number of Internet-related companies. He has a degree in industrial design from both Ohio State and Auburn. Hendrick also donates time as a mentor at Jumpstart Foundry, a Nashville incubator that helps fledgling tech-oriented businesses in the Southeast grow. Care Technology Systems Founder Jim Anderson will continue as chairman and president.


Gold Skin Care Offering Free Skin Cancer Screenings

Partnering for the fifth year with the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), Michael H. Gold, MD, is offering free skin cancer screenings from May 1-July 31, 2012 at Gold Skin Care Center in Green Hills. According to ASDS, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer.

Gold said, “I see multiple patients a day who suffer from a form of skin cancer that could potentially have been avoided, but certainly could have been treated less invasively if detected earlier. The earlier we find it, the more opportunity there is to eradicate it.”

Appointments for the free screenings should be made by calling Gold Skin Care Center. The screenings will be held four times a day Monday-Thursday.


Life Care Center of Old Hickory Village Opens

On April 29, Life Care Center of Old Hickory Village held its grand opening. The new rehab and nursing facility features an array of amenities including a library, a private dining room, a beauty shop, four courtyards and an ice cream shop.

The center focuses on providing care to residents in a homelike environment. Accommodations for short-term inpatients and long-term residents include 72 private rooms, 24 semiprivate rooms and eight private suites. Private rooms include their own showers, and oxygen and vacuum services are available for all beds.

Both inpatient and outpatient rehab is available, and the facility features a 4,000-square-foot gym with state-of-the-art equipment and modalities, a physical therapy courtyard and a putting green. The facility has its own in-house team of physical, occupational and speech therapists.


Ingram Appointed Business Marketing Director for NeighborMD

NeighborMD Urgent Care recently announced Carolyn Ingram has joined the company in the position of business marketing director focused on occupational health.

Most recently, Ingram held a similar position at Tennessee Spine and Nerve Institute. Prior to that, she served as the director of marketing for Tennessee Urgent Care Associates since 1998. Ingram serves on the advisory board for Nashville College of Medical Careers. In addition, she is active in Mid-South Work Comp, Middle Tennessee Case Managers, and Tennessee Association of Occupational Health Nurses.


National Health IT Leader Named CIO for Alana HealthCare

Howard Barsky has been named chief information officer of Nashville-based Alana HealthCare, LLC, a health solutions company that provides hi-touch services for individuals living with chronic illness, and the physicians who treat them. As CIO, Howard’s responsibilities include developing, maintaining, and facilitating the implementation of a sound and integrated IT infrastructure.

Howard brings nearly 30 years of experience developing and leading information technology operations in a wide range of corporations and organizations. Over the last decade he’s been a leading authority in healthcare IT, serving as CIO for two $60-plus million dollar healthcare providers. Most recently, he served as CIO for a privately owned healthcare provider, where he designed and deployed various PC and mobile applications to facilitate sales and financial reporting operations across the company.


Cumberland Consulting Group Expands Executive Team

Cumberland Consulting Group recently announced the promotions of John Waters, Charles Flint and Leah Wilson. The three have been named executive consultants for the firm.

John Waters manages technology systems implementation projects for a broad range of healthcare organizations, with a focus on project management, workflow analysis and optimization. He holds his undergraduate degree and MBA from Purdue University.

Charles Flint was a senior project manager, implementing technology and process solutions in dialysis centers and physician practices nationwide prior to joining Cumberland. He holds both an undergraduate degree in Health Informatics and Information Management and an MHA from Saint Louis University.

Leah Wilson joined Cumberland in 2010 as a project manager specializing in Electronic Medical Records implementations. She holds an undergraduate degree from Luther College.


Duke Selects M*Modal Speech Understanding Platform

Franklin-based M*Modal, a leading provider of clinical documentation services and Speech Understanding™ technologies, recently announced that Duke University Health System (DUHS) has selected the company’s cloud-based Speech Understanding™ technology to support the rollout of its Epic electronic health record (EHR). The technology will be made available to more than 1,000 inpatient and ambulatory care physicians upon the EHR’s implementation.


DSI Renal Acquires 54 Dialysis Clinics from Fresenius Medical Care

Nashville-based DSI Renal (or Dialysis Newco, Inc.), a leading provider of dialysis services for patients suffering from chronic kidney failure, announced in April that it has acquired 54 dialysis clinics from Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGaA.

The DSI acquisition, driven by a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) divestiture order associated with the recent Fresenius acquisition of Liberty Dialysis Holdings, officially closed on March 30, 2012, making DSI the fourth largest for-profit provider of outpatient dialysis services in the United States. With the close of the DSI/Fresenius Medical Care transaction, DSI Renal now operates 85 dialysis centers as well as home and acute care programs across 23 states, providing care to more than 6,500 patients.


Saint Thomas Heart at Baptist Adds Two Cardiothoracic Surgeons

Two cardiothoracic surgeons have joined Saint Thomas Health and established a new practice, Heart, Lung & Vascular Surgery with Saint Thomas Heart at Baptist Hospital. Both physicians specialize in cardiac, thoracic and vascular surgery and are board certified thoracic surgeons.

A. Brian Wilcox, Jr., MD, who served as chief of the medical staff at Baptist Hospital in 2011 and past chief of staff for 2012, is a graduate of Southern College and received his medical degree from the University of Tennessee. He completed residencies in general surgery at Methodist Hospital of Memphis and cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Tennessee, Memphis. In 2011, he was named medical director of the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Baptist Hospital.

Kenneth Laws, MD, is a graduate of Wheaton College and received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins Medical School. He completed both a cardiovascular and a surgical residency at Vanderbilt University Hospital. He is a member of the medical staff at the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Baptist Hospital.


HealthStream Launches Performance Center

In March, HealthStream, Inc., a leading provider of learning and research solutions for the healthcare industry, launched the HealthStream Performance Center™ (HPC), a software-as-a-service (SaaS) based performance management solution for hospitals. The HPC provides an automated, paperless performance appraisal process, which increases completion rates and consistency with all aspects of hospitals' workforce appraisal processes.

Through the HPC, hospital managers can monitor and document employee performance, while also optionally soliciting multi-rater assessments for broader feedback from peers and supervisors to utilize in the review process. A series of online, configurable appraisal forms are provided and external forms may be downloaded.


Parental Health Enters Agreement with National Alliance for Senior Healthcare Services

Nashville-based Parental Health has signed an agreement with Professionals Helping Seniors (PHS), a national network of more than 600 alliances specializing in senior healthcare services. Through the partnership Parental Health’s solutions will be marketed across the U.S. as part of a PHS benefit program for individuals and corporations. 

Parental Health develops innovative solutions that enable seniors to “age in place” with remote healthcare monitoring. Its flagship product MISTY – Medical Information Systems To You – is a patented, intuitive touchscreen technology platform that supports a straightforward approach to the management of chronic conditions and remotely connects seniors with their caregivers, families, and other resources.


Passport Health Acquires Stat Technologies

Passport Health Communications Inc. has purchased N.J.-based STAT Technologies, adding enterprise scheduling to its suite of patient access and payment certainty solutions. The acquisition gives Passport a fully integrated suite of solutions that includes scheduling, eligibility and demographic validation, orders, patient payments, patient self-service, and claims management.


Insight Genetics Promotes One, Hires Two

Molecular diagnostics company Insight Genetics recently announced the promotion of David Hout, PhD, to vice president of research and development and the addition of Brock Schweitzer, PhD, and Kasey Lawrence to its research team as scientist II and research associate III, respectively.

Since its founding in 2007, Insight Genetics has been collaborating with researchers, physicians and clinicians to develop molecular diagnostic solutions that identify biomarkers that help pinpoint patients’ cancer types and guide effective treatment. 


Family Staffing Solutions Adds Staff, Expands Office

Jenny Robinson has joined the Nashville office of Family Staffing Solutions, Inc. as a marketing specialist. Robinson, who has more than 18 years of customer service, management and sales experience, will focus on company growth and market expansion at the personal care assistance company’s Nashville location in Green Hills. She is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in Mass Communications.

The Murfreesboro office recently moved to a new office location at 208 Uptown Square, a space that is twice as large as its previous location in the Uptown Square office complex. “The growth in the size of our Murfreesboro office matches the growth in demand for our services in Rutherford County,” said President & CEO Becci Bookner, who founded the company in 1999. 


TeamHealth Enters into Strategic Marketing Alliance
with Specialists On Call

Knoxville-based TeamHealth, one of the largest suppliers of outsourced healthcare professional staffing and administrative services to hospitals, recently entered into a strategic marketing alliance with Specialists On Call (SOC), a leading provider of hospital-based telemedicine consultations. Through this exclusive partnership, TeamHealth and SOC will jointly market a uniquely positioned service to provide TeamHealth’s current and prospective hospital partners with access to 24/7/365 bedside telemedicine consultations by SOC’s trained specialists.

The alliance is the first of its kind in the emergency medicine market and will offer hospitals a solution to some of the deficiencies in on-call specialist coverage. According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, the on-call specialist shortage is a growing challenge. Approximately 73 percent of emergency department medical directors report problems with insufficient numbers of specialists for on-call services. By 2020, there is expected to be a deficit of about 27,000 specialists to perform on-call consultations. Beyond use in the emergency department, TeamHealth will be able to expand the specialist telemedicine services into its hospital medicine programs as well.


Prostate Cancer Screening Study Demonstrates Efficacy of PSA Testing

An updated study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine has confirmed the significance of PSA screenings, revealing a 29 percent reduction in the mortality rate for prostate cancer. The Large Urology Group Practice Association (LUGPA), representing more than 1,800 urologists, stated that the study “Prostate Cancer Mortality at 11 Years of Follow-up” has underscored the power of PSA-based screenings in detecting prostate cancer.

“Urologists and other healthcare providers have known for the past two decades the value of PSA-based screening for prostate cancer,” said Raoul Concepcion, MD, director of Clinical Research and immediate past president of LUGPA. “This study simply reaffirms what those of us who have been caring for prostate cancer patients have observed everyday – early detection saves lives. It is our duty as healthcare practitioners to make sure that men, especially those at the greatest risk of prostate cancer, learn about the significance of PSA screenings and the impact it may have on their survival.”


The comprehensive study, conducted by the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) in eight European countries, followed 182,160 men between 50 and 74 years old, with a core age group of 162,388 men 55 to 69 years old. Men randomly assigned to the screening group were offered PSA screening, while men in the control group were not. The results for all patients demonstrated a 21 percent survival advantage, with those with more than 10 years of follow up increasing their odds to 38 percent.

Additional support for the effectiveness of prostate cancer screenings in the U.S. is supported by statistics showing that while incidence of the disease has remained the same during the last 20 years, death rates from prostate cancer have decreased nearly 40 percent.



FDA Takes Steps to Promote Judicious Antimicrobial Use

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced tin April that it is taking three steps to protect public health and promote the judicious use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria or other microbes develop the ability to resist the effects of a drug. Because it is well established that all uses of antimicrobial drugs, in both humans and animals, contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance, it is important to use these drugs only when medically necessary. Based on a consideration of relevant reports and scientific data, FDA is proposing a voluntary initiative to phase in certain changes to how medically important antimicrobial drugs are labeled and used in food-producing animals. FDA is taking this action to help preserve the effectiveness of medically important antimicrobials for treating disease in humans.


Meharry Names New Chief of Campus Safety & Security

Last month, Meharry Medical College announced the appointment of Theresa McKinnon, MBA, MS, as chief and director of Campus Safety and Security. Serving Meharry for eight years, McKinnon has been instrumental in the implementation of several significant campus security upgrades such as the installation of emergency telephones on campus and the addition of strategically placed 24-hour video surveillance and other programs which have aided the development of a safe and secure campus environment for students, faculty and visitors.

McKinnon joined the department in August 2004 as shift commander and worked her way up the ranks. She is a graduate of the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training course, which is mandatory for all Tennessee law enforcement officers to receive certification as a police officer. McKinnon received specialized certification in the areas of DWI, standardized field sobriety tests, pressure point control tactics and defensive tactics. She also successfully participated in firearms training at the Catoosa Rifle Range in Catoosa, Ga. McKinnon received both her graduate degrees from Trevecca Nazarene University. 


American Heart Association Has Launched Free-Access Online Journal

Earlier this year, the American Heart Association launched the online-only, open-access Journal of the American Heart Association: Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease (JAHA) with free peer-reviewed research on heart disease and stroke. The journal can be found at www.jaha.ahajournals/org.

As with the association’s 11 print journals, articles will undergo rigorous peer review prior to publication. The online format won’t have limits on the length of articles, the number of photos and illustrations, or the use of color or video. Also, open-access means content will be rapidly and widely accessible, accelerating the translation of science into practice.

TriStar Centennial Medical Center Donates Life-Saving Medical Imaging Equipment

TriStar Centennial Medical Center and sister facility TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center recently donated computed radiography medical imaging systems to Project C.U.R.E. The computed radiography reader systems produce high quality x-ray images of different areas of the body, including the chest, abdomen, and head. The donated imaging equipment would cost about $180,000.

PROJECT C.U.R.E. (Commission on Urgent Relief & Equipment) provides donated medical equipment and supplies to partner organizations that help meet the healthcare needs of underserved communities around the world. Since its inception 25 years ago, PROJECT C.U.R.E. has delivered medical relief to needy people in more than 125 countries. 

“This was a great opportunity to assist healthcare needs elsewhere in the world as we were upgrading our technology to provide higher quality imaging services to our patients here in Nashville,” said Wayne Reid, vice president of imaging services at TriStar Centennial. “We hope this digital x-ray equipment will be an exciting and life-saving addition for a community in need of healthcare imaging equipment to better serve its residents.”


Duke LifePoint News

The Twin County Regional Healthcare (TCRH) Board of Directors and Duke LifePoint Healthcare finalized their agreement to jointly own and operate TCRH and its affiliated assets early last month. The newly formed joint venture will strengthen TCRH for the future and give the hospital the resources it needs to enhance the medical services offered in its communities. 

Under the terms of the final agreement, Duke LifePoint owns 80 percent of TCRH and its assets, while TCRH retains a 20 percent ownership stake. While ownership will be split 80/20, governance of the hospital will be equally shared between TCRH and Duke LifePoint.

Duke LifePoint has committed to investing $20 million in capital improvements at the hospital over the next 10 years. The retained assets and proceeds from the transaction will eliminate TCRH’s debt. The remaining proceeds, approximately $10 million, will help fund the Twin County Community Foundation, which is being formed out of the Twin County Regional Healthcare Foundation, to support crucial community needs.

In other news, the Marquette General Health System (MGHS) Board of Trustees announced in March that it has signed a memorandum of understanding to join Duke LifePoint Healthcare, a joint venture of Duke University Health System, Inc. and LifePoint Hospitals.

The memorandum of understanding is a non-binding agreement that allows Marquette General and Duke LifePoint to move forward with due diligence and other necessary steps to pursue an acquisition of MGHS by Duke LifePoint. After reaching a definitive agreement, the transaction will be subject to government approvals, including a thorough review process by the Michigan Attorney General. If finalized, this will be Duke LifePoint’s first acquisition outside of North Carolina and Virginia.

Duke LifePoint’s acquisition proposal includes significant financial commitments to enhance quality care and patient safety and expand service lines to better serve patients throughout the Upper Peninsula. Investments will be made in major capital improvements, including construction of a state-of-the-art outpatient surgery center, comprehensive cancer center, private patient rooms, new technology and new IT infrastructure. The proposal also includes investments to boost physician recruitment.


Cumberland Pharmaceuticals Signs Exclusive Licensing Agreement for China

Cumberland Pharmaceuticals Inc. recently announced it has entered into an exclusive agreement with China’s Harbin Gloria Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. for the commercialization of AcetadoteÒ (acetylcysteine), its injectable drug used to treat acetaminophen overdose, and CaldolorÒ (ibuprofen) Injection, which is used to treat pain and fever in the hospital setting. The agreement will provide Harbin Gloria exclusive rights to register and commercialize both drugs in China.

Under the terms of the agreement, Harbin Gloria is responsible for seeking regulatory approval for the two injectable products in China and would handle ongoing regulatory reporting, product marketing, distribution and sales in the territory following approval. Cumberland maintains responsibility for the intellectual property, product formulation, development and other supporting activities. In exchange for the license to the product, Cumberland will receive upfront and milestone licensing payments, as well as royalties on future sales of both drugs.


Cogent HMG Establishes New Critical Care Program at Saint Francis Hospital

Cogent HMG, a national leader in the field of hospital medicine and critical care medicine, recently launched its eleventh full-service intensivist program at Saint Francis Hospital, a 395-bed health care facility in Wilmington, Del.  Saint Francis is a member of Catholic Health East and Delaware's only Catholic Hospital.

This new program will be operated by The Intensivist Group (TIG), recently acquired by Cogent HMG, and the leading provider of critical care services to community hospitals across the country. This will be the first intensivist program developed for and implemented at Saint Francis. The program will include the development and implementation of literature-based ICU guidelines, a staff intensivist in the hospital seven days a week and intensivist consultation and co-management for all ICU patients.


Frist Humanitarian Award Winners Announced

Recipients of the annual Frist Humanitarian awards have been announced by several TriStar hospitals in the area. The awards recognize a volunteer, employee and physician from each facility who demonstrates extraordinary concern for the welfare and happiness of patients and their community. The Humanitarian Awards are given annually in recognition of the spirit and philanthropic work of the late Thomas F. Frist, Sr., MD, a founder of HCA, TriStar’s parent company.

At Horizon Medical Center, volunteer Sue Berry, PhD; employee Shanta Hinson, RN; and physician Stuart Spigel, MD, were all honored. At Southern Hills Medical Center, volunteer Janet Lawrence; employee pharmacist, Phidomise Leveque; and urologist Jeff Whitfield, MD, were the award recipients.


Meaningful Use Incentive Payments to CareLogic Enterprise EHR Users Total Over $2 Million

Qualifacts Systems Inc., recently announced to more than 250 attendees at its annual users’ conference that users of the company’s CareLogic Enterprise EHR have already received over $2.3 million in Meaningful Use incentive payments and are eligible for more than $7 million. This represents the largest amount of Meaningful Use incentive checks cashed to date for behavioral health provider organizations.

“It’s exciting to be able to share this news with our customers while they are in Nashville for our annual users’ conference,” says David Klements, president and CEO of Qualifacts. “We are committed to ensuring every CareLogic customer is successful with our product, and our Meaningful Use program is yet another example of that commitment in action.”

With the help of Qualifacts’ Meaningful Use Program Manager Mary Givens, 111 CareLogic Enterprise EHR users across seven states have received first-year incentives under the Medicaid Meaningful Use program.