January Grand Rounds
Tennessee Moves Up in State Health Rankings

When the 23rd edition of America’s Health Rankings® was released in December, Tennessee had moved up two slots from last year to come in at 39. While there is clearly still much work to be done, it’s notable that Tennessee has managed to climb out of the basement over the past several years. In 2005, the state’s overall ranking was 49.

The annual rankings are a national state-by-state assessment of the nation’s health conducted by UnitedHealth Foundation and available online at www.americashealthrankings.org. The scalable data allows public health officials and researchers to compare Tennessee to other states and to itself over more than two decades of statistical collection on health determinants.

There were a number of areas among broad determinants of health that showed some improvement in the national rankings over last year — high school graduation rates 24 in 2012 (compared to 31 in 2011); children living in poverty 32 (36 in 2011)  but still more than 20 percent of the state’s children live under the poverty line, teen birth rate 41 (43 in 2011). However, the state also saw areas of no improvement or backsliding in key areas including violent crime 47 in 2012 (47 in 2011), preterm birth 40 (37 in 2011), and income disparity 41 (40 in 2011).

While smoking has decreased significantly over the past five years, there are still nearly 1 million adult smokers in Tennessee. Over the past decade, adult obesity rates (percentage of Tennesseans with a body mass index of 30 or greater) has risen dramatically but is down from a high in 2010 when 32.9 percent of all adults were categorized as obese. In 2011, that number was 31.7 and 29.2 for 2012 … still very bad but at least trending in the right direction. The state ranks best in the nation for having the lowest binge drinking rates but among the worst in the nation (#48) for having a sedentary lifestyle. Co-morbid conditions that come with high obesity rates, including diabetes and high blood pressure, were predictably bad in Tennessee.


TNAFP Announces New Officers

During the 64th Annual Scientific Assembly of the Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians, which was held in Gatlinburg in December, Brentwood physician B. Alan Wastedt, MD was installed as the organization’s 2013 president.

Other officers elected include: Kim Howerton, MD, (Jackson) as president-elect; Beth Anne Fox, MD, (Kingsport) as vice president; Roger Zoorob, MD, (Nashville) as secretary-treasurer; Ty Webb, MD, (Sparta) as speaker; and Walter Fletcher, MD, (Martin) as vice speaker. The organization, headquartered in Brentwood, is the state chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians and has a membership of 2,300 across Tennessee.



TriStar Announces New VP of Network Affiliates

HCA’s TriStar Health has named Charlotte Burns as the division’s vice president of network affiliates effective Feb. 1, 2013. According to TriStar officials, the position was established to bring dedicated, senior executive focus to the important affiliate relationships that TriStar hospitals have developed with independent hospitals and health systems.

Burns has more than 33 years of healthcare experience. She began as a registered nurse at Hardin Medical Center in Savannah, Tenn. and later took on responsibilities in quality assurance, infection control, risk management and administration before being named CEO in 1994.


Mize Named President, CEO of SVMIC

In mid-December, Brentwood-based State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company announced John H. Mize would become president and chief executive officer effective this month, succeeding Steven C. Williams, who announced he will retire on July 1, 2013 after 37 years with the company.

Mize is currently with Towers Watson, an international actuarial and consulting firm.  He has led the office line of business for property, casualty and life actuarial practices for the firm’s Atlanta, Dallas and San Antonio offices, and served as co-leader of Towers Watson’s professional liability practice. In that capacity he has been SVMIC’s consulting actuary for the past 15 years.

An Atlanta native, Mize graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in chemical engineering. SVMIC is a physician-owned and governed provider of medical professional liability insurance and consulting services to more than 14,000 physicians primarily in the Southeast.


Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About!

Awards, Honors, Recognitions

The Tennessee Medical Association named William Schaffner, MD, MACP, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, as the 4th Quarter TMA Public Health Champion. Schaffner was recognized for his lifetime of service to the field of infectious disease and for his recent role in educating the public and advising officials amid the fungal meningitis outbreak.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s well@work employee wellness program was recently awarded a C. Everett Koop National Health Award honorable mention by The Health Project.

BlueCross’ employee wellness program captured The Health Project’s attention in part because of its 97 percent employee participation rate, comprehensive program design, facilities and policies that support health and wellness, and employee champions who encourage healthy behaviors among their peers.

Nashville-based digiChart, Inc. recently announced Harry Jacobson, MD, has been named chairman of the company’s board of directors. It was also announced last month that Jacobson had been appointed as Belmont University’s Massey Graduate School of Business 2013 Executive-in-Residence. The former vice chancellor for Health Affairs at Vanderbilt and CEO of VUMC, Jacobson is founder and managing director of TriStar Technology Ventures and chairman of MedCare Investment Funds.

Passport Health Communications, Inc. was named the 2012 “Technology Company of the Year” by the Nashville Technology Council.

Caroline Gannon, DPM, of University Foot & Ankle Centers, LLC in Franklin was recently nominated and appointed to the board for the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the Make-A-Wish® Foundation, for which she will serve as the lead medical contact.

TriStar Horizon, TriStar Centennial, TriStar Skyline, TriStar Southern Hills and TriStar StoneCrest Medical Centers all received an “A” hospital safety score by The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits on the latest update to the Hospital Safety ScoreSM. Scores of A-F were assigned to U.S. hospitals based on preventable medical errors, injuries, accidents and infections.

Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation anesthesiologist Benjamin W. Johnson, Jr., MD, has been chosen as a member of Becker’s Ambulatory Service Centers Review “Top 150 Pain Management Physicians to Know.” The national recognition is based on a physician’s contributions to the field including research and development, awards received from major organizations, and leadership positions held.

The SSI Group, Inc. (SSI), an industry leader in healthcare electronic data interchange (EDI) and revenue cycle management solutions company, was recently honored with two healthcare IT advocacy awards, the HIMSS HIT Advocacy Awards for the advancement of technology in healthcare, and the Workgroup for EDI Award of Merit.


Sullivan Wins Inaugural Internist of the Year Honor

James Sullivan, MD, associate professor of Internal Medicine at Meharry Medical College, has been selected as the 2012 “Dr. F. Tremaine Billings Internist of the Year” recipient. The new award, presented by the Middle Tennessee Partnership for Internal Medicine (MTPIM), The Nashville Academy of Medicine and Meharry and Vanderbilt Schools of Medicine, was launched to increase awareness of the important role of internal medicine in providing primary care.

Named for beloved internist F.T. “Josh” Billings, the criteria for the award were based on four key characteristics attributed to Billings: high level of competence in general medicine, enthusiasm for primary care, enthusiasm for education and keen interest in community service. Sullivan, who was selected by a committee of emeritus physicians from area hospitals, is a graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He has practiced medicine in Nashville since 1974 and was a member of the Nashville Medical Group for many years. Prior to his position at Meharry, Sullivan has served on the staff of Vanderbilt University, Baptist Hospital, Nashville General Hospital and Centennial Medical Center. A community advocate in the areas of medical ethics and end of life issues, he was an organizer of The Community Living Will Project in 1997 and has served for more than two decades on hospital ethics committees.

Sullivan was chosen from 12 finalists representing Baptist Hospital, Centennial Medical Center, Saint Thomas Hospital, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Meharry.


Recent Certifications, Accreditations & Commendations

The Joint Commission, in conjunction with The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, recently recognized NorthCrest Medical Center with Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. The designation signifies NorthCrest has demonstrated its program meets critical elements of performance to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes for stroke patients.

Life Care Center of Sparta recently achieved Gold rehab standard in parent company Life Care Centers of America’s 111-point quality audit. Each Life Care building undergoes an annual audit of its core rehab program. Facilities that achieve Gold standard are shown to have a strong, stable therapy team that is eligible to develop a specialty program based on the community’s needs.

TriStar Centennial Medical Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for its spine surgery program by demonstrating compliance with national standards for healthcare quality and safety in disease-specific care. The medical center has the only Joint Commission-certified spine surgery program in the state.

Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation’s physicians, Son D. Le, MD, Damita Bryant, MD, and Benjamin W. Johnson, Jr., MD, have been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for their excellence in the treatment of low back pain. The physicians at SJNMR are the only pain management providers in the Middle Tennessee region to have achieved this honor to date.


Capella Appoints Two to Leadership Posts

In December, Capella Healthcare announced the appointment of Giselle Krieger, RN, BSN, MS, CLNC, as vice president or Risk Management for the hospital owner/operator.

For the past four years, Krieger has served as the patient safety officer and director of Risk Management at Parkway Medical Center in Decatur, Ala. She received her BSN from the University of Alabama – Huntsville and her master’s in patient safety leadership from the University of Illinois – Chicago. She is also a certified legal nurse consultant, has a Barton certificate in Healthcare Risk Management from American Society for Healthcare Risk Management, and is pursuing certification in quality from the National Association for Healthcare Quality. 

At the end of October, Judith Peek-Lee assumed the position of market chief financial officer for Capella-Saint Thomas’ Upper Cumberland health system, which includes River Park Hospital in McMinnville, Highlands Medical Center in Sparta, DeKalb Community Hospital in Smithville, and Stones River Hospital in Woodbury. The new position provides financial operations leadership to the system and strategic partnership with each of the hospital CEOs. Peek-Lee, who comes to Capella from HCA-Physician Services where she has been serving as Group Director of Finance since 2008, is based at River Park Hospital.


Vanderbilt Recruits Wiesner to Lead Hereditary Cancer Program

Georgia Wiesner, MD, MS, has joined the Vanderbilt Department of Medicine, Division of Genetic Medicine and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center as professor of Medicine and director of the newly-created Clinical and Translational Hereditary Cancer Program. She is one of an elite group of physicians who have gained certification in both Internal Medicine and Medical Genetics.

Wiesner was recruited to Vanderbilt to achieve what she calls a major goal “to establish a state-of-the-art, internationally recognized hereditary cancer genetics program. I want Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center to be the recognized leader.”

Previously, Wiesner was an associate professor of Genetics and Medicine and medical director of the Genetic Counseling Training Program at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She was also the medical director of the cancer genetics program and a past director of the Center for Human Genetics at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. She has served as a past president of the American Board of Medical Genetics. She received her medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School where she was chief resident of Internal Medicine and completed a fellowship in Medical Genetics.


Harnack Named Exec Director for Cumberland Pediatric Foundation

Lora Harnack, MSN, RN has been named the new executive director of Cumberland Pediatric Foundation. She received her bachelor’s in Nursing and master’s in Nursing Administration with an Informatics concentration from the University of Tennessee.

Harnack has more than 25 years experience in healthcare, most recently serving as executive director for Curo Health Services/Avalon Hospice, and brings to CPF expertise in both the clinical and academic settings.


Tennessee Receives “C” on March of Dimes Report Card

Tennessee earned a better grade on the March of Dimes 2012 Premature Birth report card, giving more babies a healthy start in life and contributing to the national five-year improving trend. The state earned a C on the report card for lowering its preterm birth rate to 12.8 percent.

Leslie Ladd, state director for March of Dimes, said the organization in collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Health, set a goal to reduce premature birth by at least 8 percent between 2009 and 2014. Tennessee is part of a national trend toward improved preterm birth rates, and 40 states saw improvement in their preterm birth rates between 2010 and 2011. On the 2012 Report Card, 16 states, including Tennessee, got a better grade. Nationwide, the largest declines in preterm birth occurred among babies born at 34 to 36 weeks of pregnancy, but the improvement was across the board.


Moser Named President of Aegis

Aegis Sciences Corporation, a leading forensic and healthcare toxicology laboratory, named Frank Moser as the company’s president, according to Dr. David L. Black, chairman and CEO.

Moser, who has served as Aegis’ vice president of business development since 2008, will lead strategic growth initiatives and direct daily operations at the company’s locations in 37 states. 

Moser joined Aegis in 1999 as director of sales and marketing and was named to the company’s board of directors in 2007. He also has been a member of Nashville Health Care Council’s Leadership Health Care and served on the board of the Sales & Marketing Executives Association in Nashville. Moser earned his degree in business administration from Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C. 


Banks Joins Medical Staff of TriStar Summit 

TriStar Summit Medical Center recently welcomed Seth Banks, MD, an internist with Summit Medical Associates, to its medical staff. Banks received his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. He then completed his residency in internal medicine at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Ind. Banks practiced in Indianapolis for the past five years prior to relocating to Tennessee.


KraftCPAs Admits Gina Bennett Pruitt to Firm Membership

Gina Bennett Pruitt, CPA, has been admitted to membership (ownership) in Nashville-based KraftCPAs PLLC. Pruitt joined the firm in 2010 as the managing director of the firm’s information systems assurance and consulting practice and has responsibilities including information systems assurance and consulting, risk management, internal audit, Sarbanes-Oxley testing, service organization control (SOC) reports, network security and vulnerability assessments.

Prior to joining Kraft, Pruitt spent a decade in Big 4 public accounting as the partner in charge of the Nashville practice of enterprise risk services with Deloitte & Touche. Additionally, she was the Southeast Regional Director for Internal Audit Services. Among her many certifications are Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CHFP) and Certified Electronic Medical Biller (CEMB). Pruitt is actively involved in numerous professional and community organizations including Leadership Health Care, the Nashville Technology Council and the Healthcare Financial Management Association.


NextGxDx Expands Leadership Team with Four New Hires

Nashville-based NextGxDx, a healthcare information technology company that provides physicians with an online marketplace of more than 10,000 genetic tests, recently announced the addition of four leadership team members. The new hires will help direct NextGxDx through continued growth following the launch of its genetic testing platform.

Julia Polk has been named acting CFO. As a Wall Street investment banker, venture capitalist, angel investor and serial entrepreneur, Polk has spent more than 25 years building strong operating companies in healthcare, technology, and other service businesses. Most recently, Polk joined the founders of Change Healthcare Corp. to develop much of the company’s infrastructure in finance, operations and sales, and raised two rounds of institutional equity capital totaling $15 million.

Scientific Director Jud Schneider, PhD, has more than 12 years experience in clinical and biomedical research. At NextGxDx he focuses on providing relevant and accurate testing information to physicians at the appropriate point in their workflow. Schneider is the current co-chair of the Education and Workforce Development Committee for Life Science Tennessee and a previous board member. He received his doctorate from Vanderbilt where he also did a fellowship in Molecular Endocrinology and Biophysics.

Jay Buford has been named senior vice president of Business Development and has a deep background in channel partner and strategic alliance development in healthcare, technology and consumer products. He brings more than 30 years of relevant business experience to NextGxDx. Previously, Buford spent 18 years with the world’s largest provider of kidney dialysis and wit a Chicago-based technology company’s consumer products division.

As marketing director, Dan Kauke, brings more than a decade of healthcare experience to the table. He will focus on simplifying and improving the genetic test ordering process for physicians, genetic counselors and their patients. Prior to joining NextGxDx, Kauke served as marketing manager for a leading academic genetic testing laboratory, directing marketing and business development operations.


Hill Joins TriStar Centennial Women’s & Children’s Medical Staff

Pediatric urologist David Hill, MD, recently joined TriStar Centennial Women’s & Children’s. The board-certified urologist received his medical degree and completed his residency in urology at University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences in Memphis. He went on to be an observer in pediatric urology with Mr. Phillip Ransley at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Shaftesbury Hospital in London and then completed a fellowship in pediatric urology at The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Hill worked in private and clinical practice in Nashville and was an instructor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine until 2004. He most recently served as assistant professor of Urology at the University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville. Hill practices with Nashville Pediatric Urology.


Tennessee Breast Specialists Adds Bellin, Establishes Practice at Saint Thomas Hospital

Tennessee Breast Specialists (TBS), an affiliate of Saint Thomas Health and Saint Thomas Physician Services, recently established a new practice at Saint Thomas Hospital with the addition of board certified breast surgeon, Lisa S. Bellin, MD

Bellin received her medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University’s Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and then completed her general surgery internship and residency at the Pennsylvania Hospital, also in Philadelphia. Bellin served as director of breast surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia before relocating to Greenville, N.C. as director of the High Risk Breast Clinic at East Carolina University and the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center.


Alive Hospice Welcomes New Staff

Alive Hospice has recently made several additions to its staff.

John L. Schuster, Jr., MD, has joined the staff as chief medical officer. The palliative physician and psychiatrist has practiced for more than 21 years. Previously, he served as director of Vanderbilt School of Medicine’s Psychiatry and Medicine Program and was a palliative physician at VUMC and the Nashville VA. He was medical director of the University of Alabama Birmingham Hospice from 1991-1997 and led the UAB Palliative Medicine Program from 1999-2004. Schuster, who is board certified in hospice and palliative medicine, psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine, received his medical degree from Emory.

Barbara Brennan, BSN, MSN has joined the agency as chief nursing officer/chief operating officer and will oversee operations of hospice care in the home and inpatient settings, as well as the organization’s grief support services. Additionally, the healthcare veteran will have oversight of quality/risk management, infection control and clinical education. Previously, she was CNO at TriStar Skyline Medical Center. She received her undergraduate nursing degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a graduate degree in nursing administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

Leslie Baker has been named administrator of home hospice care. In this role, Baker oversees the day-to-day operations of the clinical teams providing in-home hospice care across 12 Middle Tennessee counties. She previously served as clinical director of Alive Hospice’s Murfreesboro-based team of caregivers.

Darlene Rutledge has joined the nonprofit as administrator of inpatient hospice care to oversee operations at the three inpatient facilities: Alive Hospice Residence Nashville, Alive Hospice at Saint Thomas Hospital and Alive Hospice at Skyline Madison Campus. Rutledge most recently served as clinical manager of inpatient hospice for Duke HomeCare and Hospice. She is certified by the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) and as an Educator in Palliative and End of Life Care (EPEC).


Larsen, Greene Join TriStar Southern Hills Medical Staff

TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center recently welcomed Angie Larsen, MD, FACS to its medical team. Larsen is a fellowship-trained breast surgeon. She received her medical degree from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine and then completed a surgical residency at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City. The board-certified surgeon also completed a breast surgery fellowship at the Bryn Mawr Hospital in Pennsylvania. Dr. Larsen is board certified with the American Board of General Surgery.

Jeffrey Greene, MD, has also joined the medical team. He is practicing family medicine at the TriStar Medical Group Family Practice Associates of Southern Hills. Greene received his medical degree from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in Lexington. He then completed a residency at Anderson Area Medical Center in South Carolina. Greene is board certified with the American Board of Family Medicine.


Conway-Welch Announces Retirement

After serving more than 28 years as dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN), and as the second longest sitting dean of any U.S. nursing school, Colleen Conway-Welch, PhD, CNM, the Nancy and Hilliard Travis Professor of Nursing, and a national leader in nursing education, announced her plans to retire from this role at the end of the academic year.

A graduate of the Georgetown University School of Nursing, Catholic University School of Nursing and New York University, Conway-Welch has been a nurse and certified nurse-midwife for almost 50 years. When recruited to Vanderbilt, VUSN had only about 100 undergraduate nursing students, a small number of master’s students and no doctoral program.

She will continue to serve as a member of the faculty. Today, VUSN’s enrollment totals nearly 1,000, and the school is ranked 15th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Graduate Schools edition and is a national educational leader.

Conway-Welch was elected into the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 1997, named to President Ronald Reagan’s Commission on the HIV Epidemic in 1988, and was appointed by President George W. Bush for a five-year term as a member of the Board of Regents for the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and is the recipient of multiple local, state and national awards and honors.


Perettie Named Division President for SCRI

Sarah Cannon Research Institute recently recruited a veteran of the pharmaceutical development industry to lead its SCRI Services business, which runs clinical research focused on early-phase cancer drugs.

Cindy Perettie comes to SCRI from Roche/Genentech, where she was vice president of regulatory documentation and operations. Before that, she was life cycle leader for Avastin and headed up Genentech’s development work in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Perettie holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from State University of New York and an MBA from St. Mary’s College.


Medicare Now Covering NeuroStar® TMS Treatment for Depression

Nashville psychiatrist Scott West, MD, recently announced Medicare has approved coverage for NeuroStar® TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) Therapy for the treatment of depression. In Tennessee, West pioneered TMS treatment, which is FDA-approved for patients suffering from depression who have not received adequate benefit from other antidepressant treatments.

“As an approved treatment under Medicare, TMS will now be available to more patients,” said West, who has used TMS since 2010 and has seen significant improvement in those receiving the therapy.

The CMS decision to allow coverage beginning December 2012 followed the 2011 release of findings in a TMS study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which showed patients treated with TMS had an average decrease in the severity of their depression of more than 5 points on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. A 3-point difference is considered clinically meaningful. As many as 40 percent of patients with depression do not receive adequate relief with psychotherapy and currently available medication.


MTSA Adds DNAP Program, Hires Assistant Administrator

Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia (MTSA) has been approved to offer a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) degree. This is the first time a doctorate-level nursing degree focused on a nurse anesthetists’ career will be offered in the state. Plans call for the school to start DNAP classes in September 2003.

The new program comes on the heels of a major campus expansion and renovation. Improvements include the addition of a second simulation skills lab where students can practice clinical procedures in an operating room environment on realistic mannequins that react like humans. Also, MTSA has added resources for distance education and space for faculty members. Future plans include building a new a lecture hall, an atrium and a learning resource center.

MTSA also recently hired Rachel M. Brown, CRNA, DNP, as assistant program administrator. Her responsibilities include curriculum planning, program development, implementation, and evaluation of the nurse anesthesia program. She will also assist with the daily operations at the school. Prior to her appointment, she served as a CRNA with Anesthesia Services Associates since 1997, spending the last five as chief CRNA. Brown earned a doctor of Nursing Practice and a master’s in Nursing from Union University in Jackson, Tenn. She also received a master’s with a focus in Anesthesia from MTSA, and her undergraduate degree in Nursing from University of Tennessee in Memphis.


Nashville Health Care Council Announces Two Additions, New Staff Roles

The Nashville Health Care Council recently announced the addition of two new staff members and three staff role changes.

Kalyn Dennis is the new event coordinator for the Council. In this position, Dennis is responsible for providing logistical support for Council and Leadership Health Care (LHC) member events. Previously, she served as the executive coordinator for Nashville Capital Network. Dennis earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Mississippi.

Katie Schlacter was recently hired as director of Communications. In this role, she is responsible for all communication activities to Council members, media and other key stakeholders. Previously, Schlacter was a senior account executive at McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations, working with clients in the healthcare, retail, government and nonprofit sectors. She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in communications. 

Judith Byrd has taken the role of executive director of the Council Fellows initiative. The Fellows program is designed to engage select senior and emerging industry leaders to explore new business strategies and meet the challenges facing the U.S. healthcare system in the years ahead. She has been with the Council for six years, most recently leading the LHC program.

Jenni Bradley has taken the role of deputy director for LHC. In this role, she is directly involved with the development and implementation of LHC programming, logistics, communications and membership recruitment and retention. She previously served as the program manager for the Council and LHC.

Caleb Graves has taken an expanded role as director of Membership Services and Community Relations. In this position, Graves is charged with member outreach, retention and recruitment, as well as promoting Nashville as a healthcare capital to key stakeholders in the private and public sectors. 


Tune Named AHA VP for Metro Nashville

Kelley Tune has been named vice president, Metro Nashville for the American Heart Association, responsible for all development operations in the market and furthering the mission of the association. She succeeds Kristie Woock, who was recently named senior vice president of Field Operations and Development for the association’s Western States Alliance.

Tune most recently served as vice president of the Nashville Heart Walk, one of the most successful Heart Walks in the nation, which netted $1.75 million in 2012. Tune has worked for AHA for seven years.


Nuessle, Cowden Join NeighborMD Medical Staff

NeighborMD Urgent Care recently announced two additions to the Lebanon medical staff at the center located on West Main Street in the Lebanon Shopping Center.

Donald W. Nuessle, MD, who is double board certified in internal medicine and pediatrics, most recently practiced in the Emergency Department of University Medical Center in Lebanon. He received medical degree from University of Miami School of Medicine.

Michelle Cowden, MD, who is board certified by the American Academy of Family Physicians, received her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University. Most recently, she practiced at Halifax Primary Care and walk-in clinic in South Boston, Va.


Cumberland Emerging Technology Expands Life Sciences Center

Last month, Cumberland Emerging Technologies, Inc. (CET), which was formed to advance early-stage biomedical technologies and products from the Mid-South region to the marketplace, announced the recent completion of an expansion of its life sciences incubator. The project brings the facility to over 14,000 square feet, more than doubling its size and providing additional wet lab, office and storage space to current and prospective tenants. The Life Sciences Center, which is located in downtown Nashville in the historic “Gateway to Nashville” building, adjacent to the Union Station hotel and the Frist Visual Arts Center, was fully leased prior to the expansion.

“We opened the facility in 2002 because we saw a need for wet lab space and other support services among emerging life sciences firms. Since then, we have expanded the facility three times as that demand continues to grow. The additional space will allow us to better serve our existing tenants while providing a growing number of early-stage companies with the resources and support required to commercialize new products,” said A.J. Kazimi, CEO of both CET and Cumberland Pharmaceuticals. 


U.S. HealthWorks Adopts iTriage App to Connect with Patients

U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group of Madison is reaching out to the growing number of smartphone users in Middle Tennessee through iTriage® – a one-stop, consumer healthcare app that lets patients quickly and easily search for information about a medical condition, find nearby facilities, and check-in for a visit at U.S. HealthWorks prior to arrival.

“Consumers want more control and convenience when accessing healthcare services,” said Diane Yu, vice president of sales and marketing.

The iTriage app lets patients instantly connect with U.S. HealthWorks and access clinic details including hours, services provided and directions. In addition, patients can use iTriage to check in prior to arrival, alerting staff of their impending visit. The app, which is available as a free download for iPhone, iPad and Android devices and through www.iTriageHealth.com, also provides information about medical symptoms, diseases and conditions, procedures and treatment options, medication information and a nationwide database of medical providers. 


BCBST Names Merriman Chief Information Security Officer

Caleb Merriman has been named the chief information security officer for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. In this position, Merriman will lead information security governance efforts and will oversee security programs including business continuity, systems disaster recovery, information risk management, security architecture, and identity and access management.

He brings more than 20 years experience leading high-performing teams across a broad range of information technology disciplines. Merriman previously served in the same role for BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota and Guidant Corporation, and as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force. He earned a BS in engineering from the University of Florida and an MS in information systems from the University of Phoenix.


TriStar Sarah Cannon Cancer Centers Pair Patients, Navigators

Breast care patients at TriStar Health’s Sarah Cannon Cancer Centers now benefit from a new patient navigation program, which supports and guides patients through the challenges of breast cancer and coordinates diagnosis and treatment plans with the multidisciplinary care team. Five breast patient navigators were added to assist patients at all TriStar Sarah Cannon Cancer Center locations including Centennial, Hendersonville, Horizon, Skyline, Southern Hills, StoneCrest and Summit Medical Centers in Middle Tennessee.


LBMC Strategic Staffing Adds IT Recruiting

LBMC Strategic Staffing, LLC, a member of the LBMC (Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain, PC) Family of Companies, recently announced the company was adding Information Technology staffing to its services portfolio to meet high market demand. In adding this new discipline, the company hired IT recruitment specialist Chad Pankake to build  the dedicated IT placement team.



digiChart Partners with Dialog Health to Bring Mobile Engagement to OB-GYN Practices, Patients

Two Nashville health information technology companies have teamed up to improve communication between OB-GYN practices and their patients by way of mobile engagement programs, including text-based appointment reminders. digiChart, a provider of

electronic health record (EHR) and practice management system (PMS) solutions for OB-GYN practices, will integrate the Dialog Health mobile engagement module with the digiChart PracticeSmart® solution. PracticeSmart is an EHR-PMS solution engineered specifically for the

OB-GYN office that optimizes practice workflow clinically, financially and administratively.

After receiving text reminders, patients can reply to the messages to help them prepare for upcoming appointments and procedures. Among the other benefits noted, the two-way text message program improves cancellation rates and on-time starts for medical practices.


Avondale Partners Expands Wealth and Asset Management Team

Last fall, Avondale Partners announced the addition of Patrick Davis and David Hale to its Wealth and Asset Management Team and Jeff Black to its equity research team. Davis and Hale are focusing primarily on the growth of Avondale Conquest, the firm’s long-short equity hedge fund, while Black is covering mall-based specialty retailers for the firm’s capital markets division.

Patrick Davis joined Avondale as a director responsible for growth of Avondale Conquest and other alternative products for the eastern half of the U.S. and Texas. Previously, he was President and CEO of F.P. Davis & Company, a boutique financial services firm he founded in 2004 catering to institutional investors and hedge fund managers. His 19 year career in the hedge fund/alternative investment industry includes positions at several firms, including Silver Leaf Partners in New York City, Alternative Investment Resource in Chicago and Van Hedge Fund Advisors in Nashville. A middle Tennessee native, Davis holds a MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management of Vanderbilt University and a bachelor’s degree in German from the University of Tennessee.

David Hale joined Avondale as a director responsible for growth of Avondale’s wealth and asset management divisions, including Avondale Conquest, for the West Coast.  Previously, he was sole managing principal of DNH Capital, LLC, a boutique wealth and asset management firm in San Francisco. His 12 year career in the industry includes serving as a vice president, investments at UBS Financial Services and a vice president and wealth advisor at Morgan Stanley. Hale holds a BS in finance and marketing from Loyola University in Chicago.


Upper Peninsula Health Information Exchange (UPHIE) Contracts with ICA To Cover One-Third of the State of Michigan 

At the end of the third quarter of 2012, Nashville-based ICA, a leading provider of interoperability technology that enables care management and health information exchange, announced the company had signed a contract with the Upper Peninsula Health Information Exchange (UPHIE). The new health information exchange (HIE) is sponsored by the Upper Peninsula Health Care Network (UPHCN) and will cover approximately one-third of the land mass of Michigan. It will serve approximately 300,000 people in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with the initial participants being hospitals and ambulatory care centers.


BCBST Promotes Three

Over the last few months, Chattanooga-based BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has announced several promotions.

Clay Phillips was promoted to director of Provider Relations and Communications. In this role, he will work to improve relationships statewide with physicians and other medical professionals through enhanced engagement with the Tennessee Hospital Association, Tennessee Medical Association, and other professional organizations. He has 13 years of experience as a healthcare attorney and government relations professional. Previously, Phillips served as interim director of network management at BCBST. Prior to that, he was an associate at Miller & Martin.

Stacy Eiselstein has been named director of Contract Development and Management where she oversees the provider contracting departments for both government and commercial lines of business. She has more than 12 years of law and healthcare experience and previously filled the role of associate general counsel at BlueCross, which provides vital background needed regarding BCBST’s contracting and regulatory requirements. Previous experience includes working as an attorney at Miller & Martin and for Baker Donelson.

Penny Ewing has been promoted to director of Quality Management. In this role, she is responsible for developing and maintaining the company’s quality management program and will assist the leadership team in directing strategic plans to ensure compliance with regulatory and accrediting bodies. She joined BCBST in 2004 as a compliance officer and project manager.


Baptist Memorial Health Care and Vanderbilt University Announce Cancer Research and Education Agreement

In the fourth quarter of 2012, executives with Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation in Memphis and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in Nashville announced an academic affiliation agreement -- paving the way for new clinical research and academic education opportunities that are designed to enhance cancer programs.

The new affiliation establishes a framework for collaborative oncology initiatives between Baptist Cancer Center and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC). Baptist cancer patients will have increased access to VICC clinical research trials and genetic diagnostic tools. Many of these services will be available in local communities through Baptist’s 14-hospital system across Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas.

The goal of the academic affiliation is to enhance cancer care throughout the region served by BMHCC and to advance VICC’s mission to prevent more cancers whenever possible and move research discoveries and new treatments to individuals with cancer much more quickly.

Specific goals of the academic affiliation include joint clinical trials, sharing of clinical pathways, sharing of cancer tissue to help advance personalized, genomic-based therapy, joint disease-specific conferences for physicians and staff, joint public education programs, and more.


NeighborMD Promotes Utley to Clinical Training Director

NeighborMD Urgent Care has been promoted Erin Utley to the position of clinical training director. Previously, she was an x-ray technician and medical assistant at the Hermitage center.   In her new role, Utley is responsible for the training of all new clinical staff at existing and new centers. Prior to working at NeighborMD, she worked as an x-ray technician and medical assistant at American Orthopedics and Tennessee Orthopedics Alliance.