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Nashville Health Care Council Launches New Initiative to Advance Nashville's Legacy

by Lindsay Chambers | Nov 12, 2012
Courtesy of the Nashville Health Care Council

The Nashville Health Care Council and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., launched an initiative today designed to engage select senior and emerging industry leaders to explore new business strategies and meet the challenges facing the U.S. health care system in the years ahead.

“Working with today's and tomorrow’s industry leaders, we will advance Nashville’s reputation for health care entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Sen. Frist, who will co-direct the new initiative with Larry Van Horn, a leading expert in health care management and economics, and professor at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. “By engaging leaders and working together, we can ensure that Nashville continues to be seen as the capital of the U.S. health care delivery system.”

The initiative – the Nashville Health Care Council Fellows – will leverage the expertise of the industry’s founding leadership in Nashville as well as nationally known figures and leading academic institutions. Spearheaded by Sen. Frist, the initiative is being shaped by a Council Board Advisory Committee whose members represent some of Nashville health care’s largest and most respected organizations. It is presented in partnership with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Community Health Systems, HCA, Healthways, LifePoint Hospitals and Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management.

“Our goal for this program is to create a forum for thought leadership and help guide the future of the health care industry - in Nashville and around the country,” said Ben Leedle, president and CEO of Healthways and chairman of the Council.

The inaugural class of Council Fellows will bring together 20 to 30 selected applicants on a bi-monthly basis for eight daylong sessions during the spring and summer of 2013. Van Horn, alongside colleagues at the Owen School, is developing a rigorous curriculum that blends three key elements: discussion of topics such as value creation and effecting change; immersion opportunities at Nashville’s leading health care organizations; and leadership development.

Council staff person Judith Byrd will oversee the Fellows initiative as executive director. The initiative will convene at the Owen Graduate School of Management’s Center Building and will feature nationally respected CEOs and guest speakers from Nashville and across the nation who represent various interests related to both the health care industry and leadership studies. Additional curriculum is provided through Harvard Business School industry case studies.

Participants in today’s launch announcement included Sen. Frist, Leedle, U.S. Representative Jim Cooper (TN-5), Van Horn, and Nashville Health Care Council President Caroline Young.

Leading Through Unprecedented Change
The launch of this innovative initiative comes amidst sweeping reform that impacts every corner of the health care industry. The impact on Nashville’s $70-billion-a-year industry that includes more than 500 dedicated and supporting companies in Nashville is certain to be historic, likely the most impactful milestone since Nashville first took its place more than four decades ago as the focal point of health care innovation.

On a national level, discussions at the forefront of the industry’s future include the fight for higher reimbursements, a push toward greater transparency, the need for increased collaboration, the implementation of highly sophisticated technology, and a host of other issues. Each points to the need to build a more sustainable system for years to come.

“We are in the midst of unprecedented change,” said Young. “We are looking to those who will be on the forefront of our industry to identify critical issues, find solutions and deploy smart strategies to drive industry growth in this shifting environment.”

Here in Nashville, leaders are managing the true day-to-day implications of that change in a way that creates a better experience for patients, first and foremost, but also propels Nashville to an even more prominent position as the nation’s health care industry capital.

“The health care industry is Nashville’s largest employer and one of the top economic drivers in our city and throughout the state,” Mayor Karl Dean said. “This program builds on that success by improving and strengthening our best health care executives and entrepreneurs into innovative leaders of the future.”

The Fellows Program: Recruiting the Inaugural Class

Today, nominations are open to industry leaders interested in applying or suggesting applicants who will create the inaugural class. Ideal candidates will:
  • Be currently serving in or slated to take pivotal C-suite roles in their organizations.
  • Commit to fully engaging their time and intellect on identifying challenges and exploring solutions facing the industry.
  • Bring endorsement from their company’s CEO and a senior-level company sponsor.
  • Be part of an organization that is a Nashville Health Care Council member.
  • Offer recommendation letters from two references.
Nominations are open through Friday, December 21. The inaugural class will be announced in early January 2013, and the program will officially start in March.

More information and instructions for submitting a nomination can be found at www.healthcarecouncilfellows.com.

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