CRMC and Vandy strike affiliation agreement
Liz Engel Clark
Thursday, Aug 16, 2012
Cookeville Regional Medical Center.
No financials exchanged in deal
COOKEVILLE – It’s been a busy six months at Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC). Just weeks after completing an acquisition deal, the hospital announced an affiliation agreement with Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center – a rarity in Tennessee but one officials at both facilities say will expand the scope of health care services in Putnam County and the Upper Cumberland region.
The agreement, CRMC chief executive officer Dr. Menachem Langer said, was “non-financial,” meaning no dollars were involved. It does not change the ownership or management of either CRMC or Vanderbilt.
“That was key to us,” Langer said. “Vanderbilt is not in the hospital acquisition business. It’s not their business model. They don’t own any of Cookeville Regional. Cookeville Regional doesn’t own any of Vanderbilt. We are strategic partners for years to come.”
The affiliation agreement has been in the works for about six months, Langer said – even before discussions began about acquiring Cumberland River Hospital in Celina, a deal that was completed Aug. 1. Langer said such affiliations are common in larger cities, but more rare in Tennessee. It will create significant opportunities for both parties to work together to expand access to health services and resources for residents in the Upper Cumberland, officials said.
“It’s a blank template, if you will,” Langer said. “We will work together over the years to figure out what (the) needs (are). It’s basically a right of first refusal to work together within the 14 counties. Anytime Vanderbilt wants to come into the 14 counties, they would ask us beforehand, and anytime we wanted to do something, we would ask them beforehand. It’s a protective stance, but it’s also a proactive stance.”
The agreement does establish a joint steering council, which will consist of three CRMC team members and three Vanderbilt team members, who will meet regularly to discuss those needs. The CRMC representatives are expected to be named by Langer soon.
The affiliation agreement immediately allows CRMC and VUMC the opportunity to create Joint Centers of Excellence, educational programs, clinical research collaborations and engage in the development of new information technology tools. Further, it creates a pathway for the two institutions to formally collaborate on a broad range of clinical services including: trauma care, neurology and neuro-intervention, rheumatology, pediatrics, neonatology and other highly specialized fields of medicine.
“Vanderbilt brings a lot to the table, from an educational standpoint to quaternary care,” Langer said. “To be affiliated with Vanderbilt, to have the Vanderbilt name associated with our organization, is a large benefit. There are programmatic things we are looking at, that would advance services here at Cookeville Regional, that I’m not able to go into great detail today. They’re non-competitive to our medical staff, things we currently do not do, that are above and beyond our capabilities right now. If I didn’t have that affiliation in place, I wouldn’t be able to do those things. That’s a win-win.
“At the end of the day, for the patient, it’s about treating the right disease in the right location,” Langer added. “Anything that can be done in Cookeville, should be done in Cookeville. But anything that Cookeville cannot handle, for whatever reason, whatever the situation may be, it’s a natural fit to send it to someone who can and who is partnering with you.”