Blog RSS https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/ en 'With You Every Step of the Way': Q&A With MyHealth Bundles Patient Navigators https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/you-every-step-way-qa-myhealth-bundles-patient-navigators <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">&#039;With You Every Step of the Way&#039;: Q&amp;A With MyHealth Bundles Patient Navigators</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 12/01/2020 - 06:00</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/148" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to &#039;With You Every Step of the Way&#039;: Q&amp;A With MyHealth Bundles Patient Navigators"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Through Vanderbilt’s <a href="https://www.vumc.org/pop-health/MyHealthBundles.org">MyHealth Bundles</a>, patients have access to a dedicated patient navigator who handles all of their non-clinical needs. From booking appointments to navigating the health system to answering questions about what’s included in a bundle, patient navigators Bri Yip and Rachel Harris make sure every patient has concierge-level support and service. Currently, Yip and Harris handle patients enrolled in the <a href="https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/service/mymaternityhealth">MyMaternityHealth</a> bundle, as well as a few pilot patients from the <a href="https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/service/myhearinghealth">MyHearingHealth</a> bundle. In the new year, Yip and Harris will work together to handle patients on three additional bundles: <a href="https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/service/myspinehealth">MySpineHealth</a>, <a href="https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/service/myorthohealth-hip-knee-surgery">MyOrthoHealth–Hip and Knee Surgery</a>, and <a href="https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/service/myweightlosshealth-surgical-weight-loss">MyWeightLossHealth–Surgical Weight Loss</a>.</p> <p>Patients can reach their navigator through a variety of channels, including phone calls, My Health at Vanderbilt messages and email. Harris and Yip balance multiple notifications each day by working together to make sure every communications channel is covered. In between phone calls, we asked them a few questions to learn more about their day-to-day work with bundles patients.</p> <p><strong>Tell us about your role as a patient navigator and why you enjoy it.</strong></p> <p><strong>Rachel: </strong>Our role is to provide white glove service: We are a one-stop-shop for patients, and we take care of whatever they need. You can access us through chat, phone call, email or My Health at Vanderbilt messages—and we document all of the information and respond quickly. I enjoy this job because I know that my role is to make sure patients feel taken care of. Many times they are so excited and grateful for the service we provide. I like improving the patient experience as a whole and providing input on how to make their experience even better.</p> <p><strong>What are common questions and concerns you get from patients?</strong></p> <p><strong>Bri: </strong>I often hear that patients don’t know what to expect. They are overwhelmed and don’t even know what questions to ask. I usually set up a time to tell them what to expect on their first appointment. I point out benefits they sometimes miss about the bundle—such as how education classes are covered. We start that conversation and then our scheduled email campaigns give them more information along the way. But most often we get a lot of questions about what they can expect from bundled services.</p> <p><strong>What feedback do you get from patients—good or bad?</strong></p> <p><strong>Bri: </strong>Patients are really grateful that they have a person to call when they have problems. A lot of patients express their gratitude.</p> <p><strong>Rachel: </strong>We get a lot of good feedback, but sometimes patients point out issues with billing. Patients will get an Explanation of Benefits and get worried if they think they’re getting a surprise medical bill. And that’s an opportunity for us to improve how we communicate with our patients.</p> <p><strong>What are your favorite patient success stories?</strong></p> <p><strong>Bri:</strong> I had a patient earlier this year who had a previous pregnancy at a different hospital, and she had a terrible experience. She never saw her doctor, only her nurse, and there was a severe lack of communication. It was an awful experience for her, and she walked away having a severe distrust of the process. After that, she established care at another clinic and was happy with her new provider—but they weren’t part of the bundle. Even when we explained how much money she could save through the bundle, she still felt distrust and didn’t want to leave her new provider. I listened to her needs and concerns and ended up referring her to the Vanderbilt Midwives Clinic—but she was still very hesitant. So, I reached out to my contact at the Midwives Clinic and gave them all the information about this patient and told them exactly what she needed to feel safe. Fast forward a few months later and she has had such a great experience that she told her friends about us, and her friends started enrolling in the bundle. I was so excited that her fantastic experience flourished and blossomed.</p> <p><strong>Rachel: </strong>I had a call with patient who wanted information about the bundle, and she sounded really nervous. After 45 minutes she asked if she could call back later with her boyfriend, the baby’s father, on the phone, too. That afternoon they called back and I explained the bundle to the baby’s father. After 45 minutes of answering their questions, they both started to cry. It turned out that he had just dropped down to part-time at work and so had she, and they were struggling with their finances. They didn’t have rent money and were wondering if they could even have the baby. They kept asking, “What’s the catch? What do we pay for?” They were beside themselves with the blessing of being able to have their employer pay for the medical costs. I loved that—that’s why I do what I do.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-barista-posts-full-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/barista_posts_full_image/public/Yip_Harris.jpg?itok=-XxzELdL" width="576" height="329" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-barista-posts-full-image" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-barista-posts-full-caption field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field__item">MyHealth Bundles patient navigators Bri Yip and Rachel Harris make sure every patient has concierge-level support and service.</div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Tue, 01 Dec 2020 12:00:00 +0000 roberjm7 148 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com An Open Letter to All Tennesseans From Area Hospitals https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/open-letter-all-tennesseans-area-hospitals <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">An Open Letter to All Tennesseans From Area Hospitals</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 11/25/2020 - 10:00</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/147" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to An Open Letter to All Tennesseans From Area Hospitals"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>First published <a href="https://www.vumc.org/coronavirus/latest-news/open-letter-all-tennesseans">here</a>.</em></p> <article about="/coronavirus/latest-news/open-letter-all-tennesseans" role="article"> <p>We write today with an appeal to all Tennesseans.</p> <p>The deadly COVID-19 pandemic is surging once again in our state. Daily new cases, transmission rates and hospitalizations have surpassed the July levels, making this second wave bigger and more deadly than the first. Medical experts and elected officials across our nation are sounding a warning about the rising numbers, and we – the state hospital leaders – share their deep concerns, especially with Thanksgiving and the holiday season beginning this week.</p> <p>This is why we have come together to urge all Tennesseans in the strongest terms to fight community spread and flatten the curve of this virus. We will accomplish this by limiting the size of formal and informal gatherings and by wearing masks. These are science-based and proven measures that will slow the spread of the virus.</p> <p>Today, there are more than 700 patients in Middle Tennessee hospitals with the coronavirus, the most since the pandemic began in March. This is a 72% increase since November 1. Models are forecasting an additional 10% increase in COVID-19 patients by the end of next week. This weekly growth pattern is expected to continue until there is a slowdown in cases.</p> <p>If this trend continues, our hospital systems could soon be overwhelmed, and that would compromise the ability to serve all patients, not just those with COVID-19. Currently hospitals are experiencing staff shortages due to both the rising volumes of patients needing care and to the absence of medical professionals who have contracted the virus or are in quarantine because of a COVID-19 exposure. The cause of most of these exposures are coming from outside the hospital – from the rampant community spread of the virus in our state.</p> <p>We know that this has been a long and challenging year. All of us would love nothing more than gather and celebrate the holidays with family and friends. However, we must stay the course. Now is the time to take heed, keep socially distant and wear masks, even indoors. Consider having a virtual Thanksgiving dinner, and if you are gathering with people who live outside of your household, limit the dinner to eight.</p> <p>We must act, and act now to protect hospital capacity and to support those who have been on the front lines of this fight for months – our medical personnel, first responders and essential workers. We are Tennesseans. In the most challenging times, we have always answered the call to act. And once again, by working together, we will get through this for our neighbors, friends, and family.</p> <p>Sincerely,<br /> Tim P. Adams, FACHE President/CEO, Ascension Saint Thomas &amp; Ministry Market Executive, Ascension Tennessee</p> <p>Randy Davis, FACHE, MBA CEO/President, NorthCrest Health</p> <p>James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D. President and CEO, Meharry Medical College</p> <p>Susan Peach, RN, BSN, MBA Market President, HighPoint Health System</p> <p>Wright Pinson, MD, MBA Deputy CEO and Chief Health System Officer, Vanderbilt University Medical Center</p> <p>Heather Rohan, FACHE Division President, TriStar Health</p> <p>H. Alan Watson, FACHE CEO, Maury Regional Health</p> <p>Don Webb CEO, Williamson Medical Center</p> <p>Joseph Webb, D.Sc., FACHE CEO, Nashville General Hospital</p> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Wed, 25 Nov 2020 16:00:00 +0000 roberjm7 147 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com Make Spirits Brighter for Vanderbilt Healthcare Workers and Patients This Holiday Season https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/make-spirits-brighter-vanderbilt-healthcare-workers-and-patients-holiday <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Make Spirits Brighter for Vanderbilt Healthcare Workers and Patients This Holiday Season</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 11/17/2020 - 06:00</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/146" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to Make Spirits Brighter for Vanderbilt Healthcare Workers and Patients This Holiday Season"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>During this season of gratitude, there are many ways your company can support Vanderbilt Health workers who have been providing compassionate care throughout the pandemic—and make the season brighter for children and families served by Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Here are some opportunities to show appreciation to heroic healthcare providers as well as to benefit patients now and in the future:</p> <p><strong><a href="https://give.vanderbilthealth.org/campaign/jingle-challenge/c305166">Jingle Challenge</a> </strong></p> <p>From Thanksgiving through Christmas, Nashville businesses can take the #JingleChallenge and rally together to fundraise for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Here are three ways to get involved:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Start a Fundraiser. </strong>Create an online fundraising page to collect donations from your employees and clients. Make it a fun competition or a meaningful give-back opportunity. <a href="https://give.vanderbilthealth.org/campaign/jingle-challenge/c305166">Here's how</a>.</li> <li><strong>Make a Donation. </strong>Make a donation in honor of your clients, customers or employees. All donations benefit our patients and families, some of whom will have to spend their holidays in the  hospital. <a href="https://give.vanderbilthealth.org/give/305166/#!/donation/checkout">Donate here</a>.</li> <li><strong>Fundraising in Stores</strong>. If you’re interested in fundraising through your retail or restaurant location, contact <a href="https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/Jingle%40VUMC.org">Jingle@VUMC.org</a> for tools and resources to make the campaign successful.</li> </ol> <p><strong>Gifts From Friends</strong></p> <p>The Gifts From Friends project spotlights the artistic talents of Children's Hospital's patients and their siblings. Their works of art are featured on various cards and gifts, with proceeds benefiting Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Learn more about the project <a href="https://www.childrenshospitalvanderbilt.org/information/gifts-friends?_ga=2.117421062.1214675852.1605540416-953244373.1605024455">here</a>.</p> <p><strong>Virtual Toy Drive</strong></p> <p>To comply with health safety guidelines for patients and families, this year the Children's Hospital is asking that supporters make a gift online instead of donating physical items. All online donations will go directly to providing holiday gifts for patients. The hospital's Patient and Family-Centered Care Team will ensure each child has a special holiday surprise. More details are available <a href="https://give.vanderbilthealth.org/campaign/virtual-toy-drive/c235218">here</a>.</p> <p><strong>Vanderbilt Health Heroes</strong></p> <p>Vanderbilt Health also offers an opportunity to donate on behalf of the healthcare workers who have gone above and beyond in the face of COVID-19. <a href="https://give.vanderbilthealth.org/give/278623/#!/donation/checkout?c_src=M20GQ&amp;c_src2=holiday">Here's how</a> you can contribute. </p> <p>To learn more about these and other holiday giving opportunities, click <a href="https://www.vanderbilthealth.org/HolidayGiving">this link</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-barista-posts-full-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/barista_posts_full_image/public/Jingle_Challenge_2020_Logo_PRIMARY_Full_Color.png?itok=iA-GHFwj" width="576" height="391" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-barista-posts-full-image" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-barista-posts-full-caption field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field__item">From the Jingle Challenge to Gifts From Friends, there are several giving opportunities to make spirits bright for the patients and families of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt this holiday season.</div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Tue, 17 Nov 2020 12:00:00 +0000 roberjm7 146 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com How to Stay Safe From COVID-19 This Thanksgiving https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/how-stay-safe-covid-19-thanksgiving <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">How to Stay Safe From COVID-19 This Thanksgiving</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 11/13/2020 - 15:49</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/145" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to How to Stay Safe From COVID-19 This Thanksgiving"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Like most things in 2020, this year's Thanksgiving celebrations will look a lot different than in past years. With <a href="https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-new-york-andrew-cuomo-california-texas-36ef6d694fec7cd8cdc329ed07842812">COVID-19 cases on the rise</a> in 49 states, and <a href="https://www.wbir.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/tennessee-seeing-alarming-spike-in-covid-19-spread-hospitalizations-and-deaths/51-93fcf659-0c6a-4fc7-b1cf-b8f3fe9af1db">hospitalizations spiking throughout Tennessee</a>, many are altering their holiday plans to decrease the spread of coronavirus. </p> <p>Staying home is the best means of protecting yourself, but some people will still feel the pull to travel, host and gather with family. How can those plans be made safer? Here are a few helpful resources and ideas:</p> <p>• This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/thanksgiving.html">guidelines</a> for making Thanksgiving safe, including these helpful infographics designed to be easily distributed to your employees: <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/daily-life-coping/everyone_can_make_thanksgiving_safer.html.pdf">Everyone Can Make Thanksgiving Safer</a> and <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/daily-life-coping/consider_other_thanksgiving_activities.html.pdf">Consider Other Thanksgiving Activities</a>.</p> <p>• MySouthernHealth posted <a href="https://www.mysouthernhealth.com/thanksgiving-guidelines-for-covid/">a story</a> today on how to make smaller family gatherings both special and safe. Some of the tips:</p> <ul> <li>Hold gatherings outside. If that's not possible, increase ventilation by opening windows and doors.</li> <li>Limit group size.</li> <li>Avoid close-contact gestures such as hugs or hand shakes.</li> <li>Don't serve buffet-style—ask everyone to bring their own food.</li> <li>As always, practice preventive measures such wearing masks, washing hands regularly and staying socially distant. </li> </ul> <p>• For those with college-age children coming home for the holidays, VUMC infectious disease expert Dr. David Aronoff and infectious disease colleagues have <a href="https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/89417">a four-step plan</a> to limit COVID-19 transmission: Starting eight days before returning home, students should self-sequestrate, test themselves two to three days before traveling, and practice preventive measures while traveling and at home.</p> <p>• In the new video below from Vanderbilt Health, infectious disease experts Dr. Tom Talbot and Dr. William Schaffner talked with work/life relations expert Jim Kendall about how they were curtailing their traditional holiday plans to ensure the health of older and more vulnerable family members.</p> <p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9l-dmLF8_Pk" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-barista-posts-full-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/barista_posts_full_image/public/atoms-YrytsnCuoJg-unsplash.jpg?itok=R-On9kbe" width="576" height="384" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-barista-posts-full-image" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-barista-posts-full-caption field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field__item">If you&#039;re traveling over Thanksgiving this year, there are many ways to ensure your celebration is safe from COVID-19 transmission.</div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Fri, 13 Nov 2020 21:49:28 +0000 roberjm7 145 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com Reimagining Spine Surgery: A Q&A With Jacob P. Schwarz, MD, on the MySpineHealth Bundle https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/reimagining-spine-surgery-qa-jacob-p-schwarz-md-myspinehealth-bundle <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Reimagining Spine Surgery: A Q&amp;A With Jacob P. Schwarz, MD, on the MySpineHealth Bundle</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 11/12/2020 - 06:00</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/123" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to Reimagining Spine Surgery: A Q&amp;A With Jacob P. Schwarz, MD, on the MySpineHealth Bundle"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="text-align:start">A new Vanderbilt Health program—MySpineHealth—is reimagining spine surgery and making the process much smoother for patients who qualify. The program "bundles" all of the services needed for a successful procedure and recovery. This coordination helps ensure appropriate care and can lead to a faster return to life and work. A patient’s experience is streamlined with the high-touch service of a personal patient navigator who helps manage care at every step of the process. Employers benefit, too, because healthcare costs are transparent, predictable and more affordable.</p> <p>“Patients in the MySpineHealth bundle have access to a comprehensive spine team that is 100% dedicated to finding the best intervention for each individual patient,” says Jacob P. Schwarz, MD, Assistant Professor, VUMC’s Department of Neurological Surgery. “If surgery is the best option for the patient, the bundle covers the three most typical surgical inventions that they face—cervical fusion, lumbar fusion and lumbar laminectomy.”</p> <p>Dr. Schwarz discussed other features of the new and improved spine surgery experience in the following Q&amp;A.</p> <p><strong>Many can identify with the problem of back pain. How do these surgeries change the lives of patients who have exhausted all other treatments?</strong></p> <p>It can be quite dramatic. Not every person who has back pain is a candidate for surgery, but among those who are, published studies have shown that the outcomes in terms of their quality of life and standard of living can be substantial. These are patients who are typically having trouble with the activities of daily living before they have an operation. After certain procedures, they are very often able to return to work. Our patient outcome scores show return-to-work rates are greater than 90%.</p> <p><strong>What are the goals of the MySpineHealth surgical evaluation?</strong></p> <p>The primary goal is to ensure the patient sees the right provider and gets the greatest improvements in their pain during their first few visits. If the patient is approved for surgery, we want to give them an idea of what that spine bundle experience is going to look like.</p> <p>Another goal is to be able to provide employers or insurers—whoever is paying for those patients’ care—a more consistent expectation of what the costs will be. Experiences that are variable, or ones in which patients get extra tests or procedures that they don't need, mean the patient and insurer are wasting time and financial resources. We want to refine that process to provide care in as financially efficient manner as possible.</p> <p><strong>What can a patient expect once approved for the MySpineHealth bundle?</strong></p> <p>Once a patient identifies as a candidate for the bundle, they will receive a designated phone number to call their patient navigator. The navigator will coordinate the patient’s care and can help schedule appointments if needed. The patient navigator serves as a primary point of contact for patients. If they have questions about the bundle, billing, Vanderbilt's clinics or facilities, the patient navigator is standing by and ready to help. This cuts a lot of common frustrations out of the process for patients. </p> <p><strong>How does the bundle streamline the spine care experience for patients?</strong></p> <p>It compresses the care pathway and filters out unnecessary visits. In a typical—and inefficient—scenario, a patient may visit a healthcare provider who then orders an imaging study. That patient returns to find out that that the provider wasn’t the one they needed to see after all. That patient is forced to go on a third visit before they see a provider who can give them the appropriate guidance. That same process might be repeated when it comes to the patient being sent to physical therapy or getting insurance approval for an imaging study. All the unnecessary visits can extend the process by weeks.</p> <p>Our hope for patients participating in this bundle is to build in efficiencies. That includes eliminating some of the issues regarding insurance approval or making sure patients get to the right place with the right information from the very beginning with help from their patient navigator.</p> <p><strong>What kind of education is provided to patients along their journey?</strong></p> <p>Again, that’s the power of the patient navigator: They can provide guidance and education every step of the way. In addition, we have educational classes and clinic providers who explain the procedure in detail. Before any procedure, patients get answers to all their questions, such as, “Where do I go for surgery? What time do I show up? What do I do afterwards? What can I expect regarding at-home wound care?” A plan for post-surgery recovery is explained and put in place ahead of time.</p> <p>There's evidence that having such a care pathway and setting appropriate expectations are very effective in preventing post-operative complications or hospital readmissions—preventions that save money and are attractive to potential payers.</p> <p><strong>How does the spine bundle lower costs for employers whose benefits dollars may be even more stretched this year and next?</strong></p> <p>There are financial savings inherent in the efficiency of making sure that every visit counts. So unlike other experiences, when a patient comes to Vanderbilt, they immediately have access to our physiatrist, interventional pain providers, nurse practitioners and surgeons, all of whom can help a patient across the entire spectrum of potential spine treatments. In a different scenario, a patient might be referred to a surgeon only to be told that they don't need surgery and then are referred outside that particular surgeon's office. That process can be very cumbersome. Because we can provide a whole host of treatments, there's less of a likelihood that a patient is told that it’s surgery or nothing—a scenario that may lead to operations that could have been avoided. A comprehensive team like ours allows us to try a whole host of treatments. If an intervention other than surgery provides the definitive treatment for these patients, that could lead to savings.</p> <p>If you have a dedicated team and a focused set of surgeons, then they tend to do more of the same procedures over and over again. That’s the case with our team. There's evidence that our strategy yields operator efficiency, better outcomes and, ultimately, greater cost savings. We continuously scrutinize the way we use our resources to ensure that we remain as effective as possible.</p> <p><em>To learn more about the features of Vanderbilt Health’s innovative MySpineHealth and how the experience can help your workforce, <a href="https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/service/myspinehealth">click here</a>.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Thu, 12 Nov 2020 12:00:00 +0000 roberjm7 123 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com MNPS Executive Director Overhauls Maternity Benefits, Wins National Award https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/mnps-executive-director-overhauls-maternity-benefits-wins-national-award <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">MNPS Executive Director Overhauls Maternity Benefits, Wins National Award</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 11/05/2020 - 09:35</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/144" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to MNPS Executive Director Overhauls Maternity Benefits, Wins National Award"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="text-align:start">Employee Benefits News recently named David Hines, executive director of benefits at Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), its 2020 Benny Award winner for Healthcare Leadership. The annual awards recognize excellence and innovation in the employee benefits/human resources field. </p> <p>Hines manages the benefits of MNPS’ certificated teaching staff, which includes 6,000 active employees and 3,000 retirees. When dependents are accounted for, that’s a total of 18,000 covered lives. Annually MNPS spends over $100 million on the health plan alone.</p> <p>Searching for a better maternity care experience for Metro Nashville Public School (MNPS) employees, Hines went to every hospital system in the Nashville area and asked for a value-based purchasing arrangement for maternity care. After being turned down by multiple health systems, Vanderbilt Health collaborated with him to pilot <a href="https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/mymaternityhealth-delivers-savings-and-satisfaction-area-teachers">MyMaternityHealth</a> on January 1, 2020.</p> <p>MyMaternityHealth combines maternity and select newborn services that an expectant mother and baby need from enrollment until 12 weeks after delivery. The potential savings from the program is so significant that MNPS has been able to lower the health plan member’s copayment to zero, saving employees at least $2,500 annually. </p> <p>“Keeping my teachers well is a long-term investment,” Hines says in an <em>Employee Benefits News</em> article about his <a href="https://www.benefitnews.com/news/nashville-school-district-leader-overhauls-maternity-benefit-pricing">award</a>. “Imagine what they can do with that extra money they’re not spending each time they have a baby?”</p> <p>“It’s hard to overstate what an innovator and thought leader David is,” <em>Employee Benefits News</em> quoted C.J. Stimson, cancer surgeon and senior adviser to the chief health system officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “It’s inspiring to see someone with his decades of experience be willing to take risks and try new things.”</p> <p>Hines is also planning to introduce upcoming <a href="https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/program/myhealth-bundles">MyHealth Bundles</a> for <a href="https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/service/myhearinghealth">cochlear implants</a>, <a href="https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/service/myspinehealth">spine surgery</a>, total joint replacement <a href="https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/service/myorthohealth-hip-knee-surgery">surgery for hip and knee</a>, and <a href="https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/service/myweightlosshealth-surgical-weight-loss">surgical weight loss</a>, all of which will potentially have zero out-of-pocket costs for MNPS employees.</p> <p>Learn more about Hines' experience with MyMaternityHealth in the video below.</p> <p class="text-align-center"><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0u190Q3tfwI" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-barista-posts-full-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/barista_posts_full_image/public/david%20hines.jpeg?itok=YkivJil2" width="527" height="576" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-barista-posts-full-image" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Thu, 05 Nov 2020 15:35:17 +0000 roberjm7 144 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com Vanderbilt Health Experts Advise Battling the 'Twindemic' With a Flu Vaccination https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/vanderbilt-health-experts-advise-battling-twindemic-flu-vaccination <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Vanderbilt Health Experts Advise Battling the &#039;Twindemic&#039; With a Flu Vaccination</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 10/27/2020 - 16:43</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/143" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to Vanderbilt Health Experts Advise Battling the &#039;Twindemic&#039; With a Flu Vaccination"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="text-align:start">This fall, Americans are facing a double-whammy when it comes to their health: an unpredictable flu season coupled with the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Vanderbilt Health experts are here to help with answers to questions about influenza as well as advice on why a flu shot is your best means of protection.</p> <p>“There will be a duel season—a ‘twindemic,’ someone called it,” said infectious disease expert <strong>William Schaffner, M.D.</strong>, a professor of Preventive Medicine at VUMC. “Therefore, it’s more important than ever that we all get ourselves vaccinated against influenza.”</p> <p>Encourage your employees to take this important step for their overall health by sharing the following stories from MySouthernHealth and the <em>VUMC Reporter</em>:</p> <ul> <li>Dr. Schaffner <a href="https://www.mysouthernhealth.com/why-you-and-yours-need-flu-vaccinations-this-year/">dispels some of the myths</a> surrounding the flu shot and <a href="https://www.mysouthernhealth.com/three-things-an-infectious-disease-specialist-wants-you-to-know-this-peak-flu-season/">explains what’s different</a> this year, which he dubs a “double-barrel season.” Dr. Schaffner also filmed a brief <a href="https://youtu.be/ZpTwm-nNnps">video</a> about why the flu vaccine can’t be missed.</li> <li>Vanderbilt pediatric nurse practitioner <strong>Pam Bush</strong> <a href="https://www.mysouthernhealth.com/its-officially-flu-shot-season-heres-what-parents-need-to-know-this-year/?utm_campaign=vmsh-newsletter-22-10-2020&amp;utm_source=marketo&amp;utm_medium=email">answers parents’ questions</a> on how and why to get a flu shot for their children.</li> <li><strong>Thomas Talbot</strong>, MD, MPH, professor of Medicine and chief hospital epidemiologist at VUMC, gave a <a href="https://news.vumc.org/2020/09/24/questions-answers-on-flu-season-and-covid/">Q&amp;A</a> about how the U.S. flu season might be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.</li> <li>And don’t miss a recent Vanderbilt Health DNA <a href="https://definingpersonalizedcare.vanderbilthealth.com/episode-2">podcast episode</a>, in which VUMC vaccine experts weigh in on they think lead to vaccine hesitancy and why it’s increasingly vital to buoy people’s understanding of the science.</li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Tue, 27 Oct 2020 21:43:59 +0000 roberjm7 143 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com Why It’s Vital to Schedule Preventive Screenings https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/why-its-vital-schedule-preventive-screenings <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Why It’s Vital to Schedule Preventive Screenings</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 10/26/2020 - 13:31</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/142" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to Why It’s Vital to Schedule Preventive Screenings"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="text-align:start">Fears of COVID-19 have made many patients hesitant to go to the doctor for key preventive screenings, particularly for breast, colorectal and cervical cancer. In fact, a recent <a href="https://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/CCI.20.00068">study</a> points to an 80% drop in routine cancer screening appointments since the pandemic. If not reversed, this break in access to care will have far-reaching consequences: National Cancer Institute models show the potential for as many cancer-related deaths as COVID-19 in the next five years.</p> <p>Encourage your employees to seek these key preventive screenings and check off annual exams before the end of the year. Share the following MySouthernHealth articles highlighting important facts about some of the most common cancers—and the need to maintain routine healthcare screenings:</p> <ul> <li>How to assess your risk of <a href="https://www.mysouthernhealth.com/breast-cancer-risk-factors/">breast cancer</a></li> <li>Which signs of <a href="https://www.mysouthernhealth.com/signs-of-colon-cancer-what-men-and-women-should-watch-out-for/">colon cancer</a> to look out for, and the <a href="https://www.mysouthernhealth.com/colonoscopy/">surprising benefits</a> of a colonoscopy</li> <li>What you should know about <a href="https://www.mysouthernhealth.com/when-to-get-a-pap-smear-and-when-it-can-wait/">cervical cancer screening</a> and the benefits of the <a href="https://www.mysouthernhealth.com/hpv-vaccine/">HPV vaccine for children</a></li> <li>What to ask your doctor about <a href="https://www.mysouthernhealth.com/men-must-know-talking-doctor-psa-screening/">prostate cancer</a> screening</li> <li>How to lower your risk of <a href="https://www.mysouthernhealth.com/lowering-your-risk-for-pancreatic-cancer/">pancreatic cancer</a></li> <li>What you should know about <a href="https://www.mysouthernhealth.com/get-the-facts-about-ovarian-cancer/">ovarian cancer</a></li> <li>The screenings <a href="https://www.mysouthernhealth.com/womens-health-tests-to-ask-about-at-every-age/">women</a> should ask for at every age</li> <li>The screenings <a href="https://www.mysouthernhealth.com/health-screenings-men/">men</a> should ask for at every age</li> </ul> <p>As an added service for Employer Partners, Vanderbilt Corporate Health and Wellness clinicians can mobilize to employers’ desired location and conduct onsite health screenings. Learn more about the service <a href="https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/information/corporate-health-and-wellness">here</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Mon, 26 Oct 2020 18:31:59 +0000 roberjm7 142 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com What Bundles Can Do for Employers: Webinar Unlocks Benefits of the Innovative Payment Model https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/what-bundles-can-do-employers-webinar-unlocks-benefits-innovative-payment <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">What Bundles Can Do for Employers: Webinar Unlocks Benefits of the Innovative Payment Model</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 10/23/2020 - 15:26</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/132" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to What Bundles Can Do for Employers: Webinar Unlocks Benefits of the Innovative Payment Model"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="text-align:start">The COVID-19 pandemic has escalated the need for transparency and predictability in healthcare costs. How do bundles move healthcare toward a future where predictable costs and better patient outcomes become the norm? How can bundles enhance an employer’s benefits package today?</p> <p>Answering these and other questions about the bundled payment model was the focus of a Vanderbilt Health webinar on <strong>Oct. 15</strong>. The Vanderbilt Health Employer Solutions team discussed how to put healthcare innovation in action for organizations through provider-led bundled payments.</p> <p>Dr. C.J. Stimson, a practicing cancer surgeon who has led bundled payment policy development at Medicare and at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, traced the arc of the contemporary bundled payment narrative. He explained its origins within Medicare and the move toward direct-to-employer models that enable healthcare purchasers to take back control of benefit costs and develop a closer relationship with the healthcare providers caring for their employees.</p> <p>Highlights of the webinar included:</p> <ul> <li>Insight into how bundled payments were developed for both Medicare and Nashville-area employers</li> <li>Benefits and risks of the bundled payment model</li> <li>The flexibility of Vanderbilt's <a href="https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/program/myhealth-bundles">MyHealth Bundles</a> model</li> <li>The outlook for bundled payments nationwide</li> <li>Guidance on how an employer can implement this model within their own health plan</li> </ul> <p>View the entire webinar via the video below.</p> <p class="text-align-center"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TAExxLiXftI" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Fri, 23 Oct 2020 20:26:09 +0000 roberjm7 132 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com CDC Expands Definition of 'Close Contacts' https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/cdc-expands-definition-close-contacts <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">CDC Expands Definition of &#039;Close Contacts&#039;</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 10/22/2020 - 09:06</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/139" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to CDC Expands Definition of &#039;Close Contacts&#039;"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>On October 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed the definition of what is meant by a “close contact” with someone with COVID-19 after <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6943e1.htm">a study suggested</a> COVID-19 can be passed in shorter interactions than previously thought. </p> <p>The CDC previously defined a close contact as someone who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more continuously. The description has now expanded to someone who has spent a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of an infected person over a 24-hour period, even if the time isn't consecutive. That period starts two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. The "15 minutes" can now defined as individual exposures added together over a 24-hour period (such as, three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes).</p> <p>The CDC goes on to write: "Factors to consider when defining close contact include proximity (closer distance likely increases exposure risk), the duration of exposure (longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk), whether the infected individual has symptoms (the period around onset of symptoms is associated with the highest levels of viral shedding), if the infected person was likely to generate respiratory aerosols (e.g., was coughing, singing, shouting), and other environmental factors (crowding, adequacy of ventilation, whether exposure was indoors or outdoors).”</p> <p>While these factors do not mitigate the determination of whether a person is deemed a close contact, they may provide reassurance regarding individual risk of exposure. Also, the CDC states that the use of face coverings is not a factor in determining whether a person is a close contact.  </p> <p>Read more about the new definition <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/contact-tracing/contact-tracing-plan/appendix.html#contact">here</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Thu, 22 Oct 2020 14:06:52 +0000 roberjm7 139 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com Vanderbilt Health Named Founding Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Health Network https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/vanderbilt-health-named-founding-member-pro-football-hall-fames-health <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Vanderbilt Health Named Founding Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Health Network</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 10/21/2020 - 08:00</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/138" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to Vanderbilt Health Named Founding Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Health Network"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Vanderbilt Health is one of 12 of the nation’s premier providers of medical care that will begin offering services to any former National Football League player or team employee, and their families, under the banner of Hall of Fame Health.</p> <p>The announcement of the 12 founding members in the Hall of Fame Health network is the latest development in the partnership the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Sovereign Healthcare formed in January to develop services and solutions to address the health and wellness needs of former players and their families. Access to top-tier providers across the country was established as a primary goal, and the Oct. 20 announcement takes that first step in Hall of Fame Health’s ongoing mission.</p> <p>As part of the agreement, Vanderbilt Health will work with Hall of Fame Health to provide a variety of services, some designed to fill gaps in existing coverage, along with concierge services to help former players and their families navigate the health care landscape. Offerings will complement services the NFL provides in the 30 cities where franchises are located and will add available in-network health options in areas of the country where thousands of NFL retirees are located.</p> <p>“This network of world-class health systems, physician groups and provider organizations is committed to helping the Pro Football Hall of Fame serve former football players and their families as they look to navigate and gain access to the very best care,” said Jeremy Hogue, CEO of Hall of Fame Health. “It’s consistent with the hall’s mission ‘to honor the heroes of the game.’ In the community of former football players, there is a need. We’re rising to meet it.”</p> <p>Hogue said an estimated 80% of the League’s nearly 20,000 former players are not covered under employer-sponsored medical plans and must shop for insurance coverage each year during the national open-enrollment period, which this year begins Nov. 1.</p> <p>Learn more about the agreement and see the list of the other founding members in this <a href="https://news.vumc.org/2020/10/20/vanderbilt-health-to-be-founding-member-of-pro-football-hall-of-fames-health-network/"><em>VUMC Reporter </em>article</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-barista-posts-full-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/barista_posts_full_image/public/HOFHealth_Dark%5B2%5D.png?itok=IeShhWiF" width="576" height="389" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-barista-posts-full-image" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Wed, 21 Oct 2020 13:00:00 +0000 roberjm7 138 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com Vanderbilt Health and Other Area Hospitals Issue Joint Statement on Surge of COVID-19 Cases in Tennessee https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/vanderbilt-health-and-other-area-hospitals-issue-joint-statement-surge-covid <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Vanderbilt Health and Other Area Hospitals Issue Joint Statement on Surge of COVID-19 Cases in Tennessee</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 10/20/2020 - 13:51</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/135" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to Vanderbilt Health and Other Area Hospitals Issue Joint Statement on Surge of COVID-19 Cases in Tennessee"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Please consider sharing with your employees the <a href="https://news.vumc.org/2020/10/20/ascension-st-thomas-tristar-health-meharry-medical-college-vanderbilt-health-issue-joint-statement-on-covid-19/">joint statement</a> below, issued today by Vanderbilt Health, Ascension St. Thomas, Tristar Health and Meharry Medical College:</p> <p>The number of active COVID-19 cases in Tennessee is rising. In the 13 counties that make up the Nashville Metropolitan Area, new cases have increased 50% over the last 2 weeks.  We strongly urge everyone in Middle Tennessee, and all Tennesseans, to remain vigilant in their efforts to limit the spread of the virus by wearing masks, washing hands and staying socially distant—including not participating in large gatherings.</p> <p>Over the same two-week period, hospitals in the Nashville area have experienced a 40% increase in patients admitted for COVID-19. Unless we act now to curb the transmission rates in Middle Tennessee, we expect this trend to continue. A major surge of new COVID-19 cases could threaten our ability to serve patients with many diagnoses requiring hospitalization.</p> <p>As fall brings cooler temperatures and more indoor activities, the risk of transmitting the virus increases. The timing of this new wave of COVID-19 cases in our area coincides with the annual flu season, which adds yet more strain on our hospitals and more pressure to local businesses. We must do everything we can to prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed and safeguard the reopening of our economy.</p> <p>The best way to slow the spread of coronavirus is to wear a face mask, wash your hands and social distance, which includes not gathering in large groups. We also encourage everyone over 6 months old to get a flu vaccine this year to protect your health and the health of those around you.</p> <p>Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 and the flu and protect our hospitals and our local economy.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Tue, 20 Oct 2020 18:51:17 +0000 roberjm7 135 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com Tennessee Chamber Announces Collaboration to Offer Affordable Healthcare Solutions for Small Businesses https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/tennessee-chamber-announces-collaboration-offer-affordable-healthcare <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Tennessee Chamber Announces Collaboration to Offer Affordable Healthcare Solutions for Small Businesses</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 10/19/2020 - 12:00</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/140" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to Tennessee Chamber Announces Collaboration to Offer Affordable Healthcare Solutions for Small Businesses"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="text-align:start">The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce &amp; Industry recently announced a collaboration with the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network and Aetna to provide high-quality, affordable health plan options to small businesses. The new TN Chambers Health plan will offer businesses with two to 100 full-time eligible employees an average annual discount of $144 per employee. For a chamber business with 10 enrolled employees, that’s an average savings of about $1,440 a year. </p> <p style="text-align:start">Plan members can access these discounts by tapping into VHAN’s statewide network, of which Vanderbilt University Medical Center is a member. Additional benefits include digital enrollment, benefits administration, fitness classes and shared savings in overcharged claims. </p> <p style="text-align:start">“We frequently hear what a challenge affordable health coverage is for small business," said Bradley Jackson, President, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce. "This plan is a great opportunity for both chambers of commerce across our great state and their business members to obtain quality healthcare coverage and receive a sizable discount for being a chamber of commerce member.”</p> <p>Learn more about the collaboration <a href="https://www.vhan.com/media/tennessee-chamber-of-commerce-announces-statewide-collaboration-to-provide-affordable-healthcare-solutions-to-small-businesses/">here</a>.</p> <p> </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Mon, 19 Oct 2020 17:00:00 +0000 roberjm7 140 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com How to Vote Safely During COVID-19 https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/how-vote-safely-during-covid-19 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">How to Vote Safely During COVID-19</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 10/16/2020 - 08:00</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/136" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to How to Vote Safely During COVID-19"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Want to cast your ballot in person in the upcoming election ... but feeling a little worried about potential crowds at the polls? In the brief Vanderbilt Health video below, VUMC infectious disease expert David Aronoff, MD, gives some practical tips on voting safely during the pandemic.</p> <p class="text-align-center"><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rXNGDE1CGxE" width="560"></iframe></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Fri, 16 Oct 2020 13:00:00 +0000 roberjm7 136 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com Beat Back Zoom Fatigue https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/beat-back-zoom-fatigue <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Beat Back Zoom Fatigue</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 10/12/2020 - 08:00</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/137" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to Beat Back Zoom Fatigue"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="text-align:start">Before COVID-19 sent some workers home earlier this year, working remotely was uncharted territory for many employees. Communicating with colleagues has been more challenging without the ability to swing by a coworkers’ office for a quick chat. Instead, we’re forced to navigate the demands of virtual communication.</p> <p>“When it comes to video chats, we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone of the voice and body language; paying more attention to these consumes a lot of energy,” <a href="https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200421-why-zoom-video-chats-are-so-exhausting">Gianpiero Petriglieri told the BBC</a>. This has left a lot of employees and employers exhausted as they jump from one Zoom or Teams call to the next.</p> <p>Here are a few ways to encourage your employees to stay connected while not becoming overwhelmed by Zoom fatigue:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Give yourself a buffer. </strong>Schedule your meetings for 50 minutes instead of an hour, suggests this <a href="https://www.vumc.org/coronavirus/sites/default/files/COVID%20Documents/Zoom%20Fatigue%20%2B%20Coping%20Infographic%20%282%29.pdf">flyer</a> of helpful hints from Vanderbilt Faculty and Staff Health &amp; Wellness. This strategy gives everyone a 10-minute cushion to reset and take a quick mental break before the next call.</li> <li><strong>Switch to email or chat. </strong>Ask yourself, “Could this video call take place another way?” According to a recent <em><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/yolarobert1/2020/04/30/heres-why-youre-feeling-zoom-fatigue/#531ffe572ac6">Forbes</a></em> article, if the answer to that question is “Yes,” consider exchanging information with stakeholders via email, chatting via your system’s instant messenger function or simply calling the other person. Sometimes a phone call is less stressful and a faster way to get the details you need to finish a project.</li> <li><strong>Change it up.</strong> Try a different room in your home. If it’s a nice day and there’s not too much noise, move outside for one of your calls if appropriate. A change of scenery or fresh air can clear out the cobwebs.</li> <li><strong>Come with a plan. </strong>Develop an agenda for the video meeting—and try to include time for a few minutes of socializing. A schedule will keep the meeting on track and make the most of everyone’s time.</li> <li><strong>Set boundaries and take breaks.</strong> Place 15-minute blocks on your calendar dedicated to breaks. The breaks will not only give you a needed respite, but they will help you come back to your projects with fresh eyes. And during longer video calls, take mini breaks “by minimizing the window, moving it to behind your open applications or just looking away from your computer completely for a few seconds now and then,” suggests an article in <em><a href="https://hbr.org/2020/04/how-to-combat-zoom-fatigue">Harvard Business Review</a></em>.</li> </ol> <p style="text-align:start"> </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Mon, 12 Oct 2020 13:00:00 +0000 roberjm7 137 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com New Vanderbilt Walk-In Clinic Now Open in Hillsboro Village https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/new-vanderbilt-walk-clinic-now-open-hillsboro-village <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">New Vanderbilt Walk-In Clinic Now Open in Hillsboro Village</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 10/06/2020 - 11:28</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/133" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to New Vanderbilt Walk-In Clinic Now Open in Hillsboro Village"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>With cold and flu season upon us, Vanderbilt Health has good news for your employees: Today, October 6, is the opening of the newest Vanderbilt Walk-In Clinic in Hillsboro Village on Belcourt Avenue, right across from the Belcourt Theatre  (2111 Belcourt Ave., Suite 103, Side A). Walk-In Clinics provide same-day, full-service medical care when you need medical care but can’t make it to your doctor.</p> <p>Spread the word to employees that these walk-In clinics offer treatment and diagnosis for many of life’s ailments, and they even offer X-ray, EKG and lab services on-site.</p> <p>Take a virtual tour of this new clinic at <a href="https://nam05.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DktTEkj08a8s%26feature%3Dyoutu.be&amp;data=02%7C01%7Cjamie.roberts%40vumc.org%7Cd48edc4e9928430f48ba08d8694909e6%7Cef57503014244ed8b83c12c533d879ab%7C0%7C0%7C637375109700453775&amp;sdata=ohvcKquSqsDU2Mc4f2KI%2FLnCQim6jIbp9yxEbdCS7%2Bg%3D&amp;reserved=0" originalsrc="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktTEkj08a8s&amp;feature=youtu.be" shash="iGJOhyvxIUvIfZApQtcj1zm76YTt3jXGU8liadVE/IAd/Ma3zuZdxrQ5mVo+x4Nb+EKxRNdq+JYAKDW9DxizzDUXZJfgh6jOJ0mUTbNQ18ZJbgS3XEPmEmDMiMKrwQ8DNYV/Nt3VNCEFqqRdeKNQVEisO7vsUHg7FfDjfelEri8=">this link</a>. No appointment is necessary, but you can save your spot in line at <a href="https://nam05.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myhealthwalkin.com%2F&amp;data=02%7C01%7Cjamie.roberts%40vumc.org%7Cd48edc4e9928430f48ba08d8694909e6%7Cef57503014244ed8b83c12c533d879ab%7C0%7C0%7C637375109700453775&amp;sdata=ozu%2FUnlxv8w%2BDjCfHy1TB%2F2NHon9Xm1sp0rQUWcaDHk%3D&amp;reserved=0" originalsrc="https://www.myhealthwalkin.com/" shash="xPo5ngmeJQU+c7EgY89hBGRLoC/9mx+JH7K4IH9qlNOOeK98cPprDWDBLzgRklcchWYIIhYvKxOZ+13ZP7Gtff2lPOvlOnANRxYLPcUoGeDwT15oXpngSSJCxd8rSecTulC3/L/l1LJOOH9lbw0JWJ6oqPbNEC/2bDA9uiZ5YIY=">MyHealthWalkIn.com</a> for added convenience.</p> <p>The Belcourt clinic marks Vanderbilt Health's 10th location in the Middle Tennessee region. You can view the full list of clinics across Davidson, Williamson and Wilson counties at <a href="https://nam05.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myhealthwalkin.com%2Fprogram%2Fvanderbilt-health-walk-clinics&amp;data=02%7C01%7Cjamie.roberts%40vumc.org%7Cd48edc4e9928430f48ba08d8694909e6%7Cef57503014244ed8b83c12c533d879ab%7C0%7C0%7C637375109700463772&amp;sdata=oR%2BZAYKmhBVuUqxXLvX0%2FalYBeoxK8i7BbEPKsHFFVo%3D&amp;reserved=0" originalsrc="https://www.myhealthwalkin.com/program/vanderbilt-health-walk-clinics" shash="TcJnqFU7583ka8t8YzimP7o/OtRi18femnKeRt347RjwnyZrRkYibFn9puL/T2s2/+Rc3k5I66mwB3X3cZce3fjYSAeU81hOwk0cgM+HCJ6rFzYIcazd09TdVC6eqnN27i4SwLEVtWFoEIc7+cak7ADyJtW64g9YtiQ5f5M00/4=">this link</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Tue, 06 Oct 2020 16:28:54 +0000 roberjm7 133 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com VUMC Announces Plan to Expand Into Shelbyville and Tullahoma https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/vumc-announces-plan-expand-shelbyville-and-tullahoma <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">VUMC Announces Plan to Expand Into Shelbyville and Tullahoma</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 10/02/2020 - 08:00</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/134" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to VUMC Announces Plan to Expand Into Shelbyville and Tullahoma"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) recently announced plans to purchase Tennova Healthcare-Shelbyville and Tennova Healthcare-Harton hospitals from subsidiaries of Community Health Systems Inc. (CHS). VUMC will also acquire minority ownership in CHS’s Tennova Healthcare-Clarksville hospital.</p> <p>The partnership between Tennova Healthcare-Clarksville and VUMC is expected to create new opportunities to expand local medical resources for Clarksville, Montgomery County, and the surrounding region. Already, Tennova Healthcare-Clarksville and VUMC collaborate on oncology and neonatal intensive care in the community.              </p> <p>Through the acquisition of these hospitals, VUMC significantly increases its presence across Middle Tennessee with facilities and services now located in Bedford, Coffee, Davidson, Montgomery, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson counties. Currently <a href="https://news.vumc.org/2020/02/14/vanderbilt-university-medical-center-to-break-ground-on-hendersonville-multi-specialty-clinic/">under construction</a> in Hendersonville is a 31,000-square-foot facility that will offer adult outpatient specialty care and limited pediatric specialty care for Sumner County.</p> <p>In 2019, VUMC acquired Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon, a 274-bed hospital in Lebanon, Tennessee, now called Vanderbilt Health Wilson County. In December of that year, VUMC opened the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital Vanderbilt Surgery and Clinics in Rutherford County.</p> <p>“We are continuing to strengthen our presence across Middle Tennessee so that we can fulfill the Medical Center’s mission to advance the health and well-being of the region we serve. As we have in other counties, we are making a significant commitment to the citizens of these communities and look forward to working together toward this important goal with our new colleagues at these hospitals and clinics,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and CEO of VUMC and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. </p> <p>To learn more about the acquisition, read the <a href="https://news.vumc.org/2020/09/30/vumc-to-acquire-tennova-shelbyville-and-tullahoma-hospitals-from-community-health-systems-inc-and-partner-with-tennova-clarksville-hospital/">VUMC <em>Reporter</em> article</a>.</p> <p> </p> <p style="text-align:start"> </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Fri, 02 Oct 2020 13:00:00 +0000 roberjm7 134 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com Drive-Through Flu Events Offer Safety & Convenience for Employees https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/drive-through-flu-events-offer-safety-convenience-employees <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Drive-Through Flu Events Offer Safety &amp; Convenience for Employees</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 09/25/2020 - 06:00</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/131" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to Drive-Through Flu Events Offer Safety &amp; Convenience for Employees"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>The Employer Solutions’ <a href="https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/information/corporate-health-and-wellness">Corporate Health &amp; Wellness</a> team recently developed an efficient drive-through system that has successfully delivered the flu vaccine to more than 600 employees—and counting. The innovative model is one of the ways Vanderbilt Health has adapted to fulfill its commitment to deliver preventive care and lessen flu in the region while keeping the community safe in a pandemic.</p> <p>"As employees gradually start heading back into their offices, several of our long-standing employer clients reached out with their concern that the flu could also be making its way into their workplaces,” says Jill Brewster, RN, BSN, TTS, CHC, Senior Program Manager for Vanderbilt Corporate Health and Wellness. “We were already developing a pandemic-friendly vaccination process for this flu season, so the timing was perfect for us to test out our new drive-through model. This model is a win-win because it is more efficient for everyone, which we hope will increase flu vaccination rates in our community.”<p></p></p> <p>The streamlined process can be adapted to meet the needs of an employee population wherever it is, and it begins with employees electronically filling out and signing consent forms via a QR code. After signing up for their preferred time, employees drive to a designated spot in a nearby parking garage or tented portion of a workplace parking lot. Masked VUMC nurses then ask a few questions of the employees and vaccinate them from the comfort of their own car. After the flu shot, employees are asked to wait for 15 minutes in the rare event that they have a reaction. The team has also used a walk-through model if a worksite has a large room with proper entrance and exit areas and space to allow for social distancing.<p></p></p> <p><p></p></p> <p>“It’s not a cookie-cutter approach; we customize it depending on the employers’ needs,” Brewster says. “We’ve had great feedback so far, and most important, we’ve found a way to ensure employers can still encourage flu vaccination among their employees during this crucial time.”<p></p></p> <p>In addition to helping to prevent flu, these vaccination events give Corporate Health team members a chance to talk to employees about other health concerns. “We love the ability to have conversations with people about changing their risk behaviors for the better,” Brewster says. “Giving the flu vaccine is a great way to start this dialogue.”<p></p></p> <p>The events are scheduled through the beginning of October, and the team is ramping up capacity to serve the needs of more employers. <p></p></p> <p>“Our goal is to have a healthier population, and we’re using this new process as a model for the future,” Brewster says. “With some employers having 50-60% of their workforce continuing to work from home, it may be one way we provide preventive health from now on.”</p> <p>To learn more, contact <a href="mailto:employersolutions@vumc.org">employersolutions@vumc.org</a> or call Blythe Exton at (615) 343–9557.</p> <div> <div id="_com_3" language="JavaScript"><a name="_msocom_3" id="_msocom_3"></a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-barista-posts-full-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/barista_posts_full_image/public/5040.jpeg?itok=yr6bhu2c" width="432" height="576" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-barista-posts-full-image" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-barista-posts-full-caption field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field__item">The Vanderbilt Corporate Health and Wellness team prepares for a drive-thru flu event.</div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Fri, 25 Sep 2020 11:00:00 +0000 roberjm7 131 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com New Ebook Aimed at 2021 Health Plan Decision-making https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/new-ebook-aimed-2021-health-plan-decision-making <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">New Ebook Aimed at 2021 Health Plan Decision-making</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 09/15/2020 - 07:00</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/129" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to New Ebook Aimed at 2021 Health Plan Decision-making"> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="text-align:start">Vanderbilt Health Employer Solutions announces a new Ebook, <a href="https://select.vanderbilthealth.com/employer_ebook.html">“How the Pandemic is Shaping Health Plan Strategies for 2021.” </a>The Ebook is targeted to employers making decisions about their 2021 health plans, and it offers multiple best practices to help them take back control of healthcare costs in the year ahead. It’s a timely communication, as the pandemic has added pressure to cut costs, strained employees’ physical and mental health, and disrupted the physical workplace.</p> <p>The Ebook details four all-too-common challenges for employers large and small:</p> <ul> <li>Rising Healthcare Costs</li> <li>Mounting Healthcare Issues—Both Physical and Mental</li> <li>A Decreased Focus on Preventive Health</li> <li>The Uncertain Needs of a Dispersed, Virtual Workforce</li> </ul> <p>Conquering these challenges can seem overwhelming, but employers can proactivity manage costs and improve employees’ quality of care with careful attention to four best practices—and a helping hand from a diverse array of Vanderbilt Health solutions:</p> <ul> <li>Adopt Innovative Ways to Lower Costs</li> <li>Invest in Behavioral Health</li> <li>Refocus on Preventive Health &amp; Well-being</li> <li>Create a Culture of Health for Your Workplace—Wherever It May Be</li> </ul> <p><strong><a href="https://select.vanderbilthealth.com/employer_ebook.html">Download the Ebook </a>now for thought leadership and resources to help take back control of health plan decision-making—and strengthen your community’s health today and in the post-pandemic workplace.</strong></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-barista-posts-full-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/barista_posts_full_image/public/ebookcover.jpg?itok=yH_aQk6x" width="576" height="445" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-barista-posts-full-image" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-barista-posts-full-caption field--type-string-long field--label-hidden field__item">Vanderbilt Health Employer Solutions&#039; new Ebook is targeted to helping employers make decisions about their 2021 health plans.</div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Tue, 15 Sep 2020 12:00:00 +0000 roberjm7 129 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com Celebrating Progress, Continuing Prevention: A Q&A With VUMC Infectious Disease Expert Dr. David Aronoff https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/celebrating-progress-continuing-prevention-qa-vumc-infectious-disease-expert <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Celebrating Progress, Continuing Prevention: A Q&amp;A With VUMC Infectious Disease Expert Dr. David Aronoff </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/users/roberjm7" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">roberjm7</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 09/15/2020 - 06:00</span> <a href="/blog-post-rss/128" class="feed-icon" title="Subscribe to Celebrating Progress, Continuing Prevention: A Q&amp;A With VUMC Infectious Disease Expert Dr. David Aronoff "> RSS: <i class="fa fa-rss-square"></i> </a> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em><strong>What do we know now about COVID-19 that we didn’t know back in the spring?</strong></em></p> <p>That was the question the Employer Solutions team posed to David Aronoff, MD, Addison B. Scoville Chair in Medicine and Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). The Employer Insights blog last checked in with Dr. Aronoff in May as he answered questions to help business get <a href="https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/turning-lights-back-dimmer-switch-recap-back-work-safety-employers-webinar">back to work safely</a>. Since that conversation, he has been busy advising <a href="https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/ryman-hospitality-partners-and-vumc-tune-safe-and-healthy-restart-business">Ryman Hospitality Properties</a>, <a href="https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/american-airlines-boosts-travelers-peace-mind-vumc-expertise">American Airlines</a> and Nashville employers with the <a href="https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/good-go-program-kicks-assist-vanderbilt-health-infectious-disease-expert">Good to Go program</a> on disease prevention, along with his colleague Dr. Thomas Talbot, VUMC Chief Hospital Epidemiologist. Dr. Aronoff regularly educates the Middle Tennessee community on ways to protect themselves from the virus in their lives and at their workplaces.</p> <p>While he does have reassuring news about VUMC's work and worldwide progress toward COVID-19 treatments and potential vaccines, Dr. Aronoff underscored the need to keep up our guard against the virus and stay the course with proven prevention methods. Here are the highlights from our conversation:</p> <p><strong>Now we know, unequivocally, that masks help reduce the spread of the virus. What other messages relating to prevention do you wish everyone would take to heart?</strong></p> <p>After the pandemic peaked here sometime in late July, numbers recently have been improving in Nashville and across the state. By participating in simple, fundamental practices of prevention that by now we know work well, we’ve decreased our number of cases and people hospitalized. Wearing masks in public, maintaining our distance from others, not going out quite as much, paying close attention to hand hygiene and surface disinfection—these are all still important practices to stopping the spread. There are data now to show that that maintaining distance and wearing face coverings has slowed viral spread all over the world.</p> <p>Even though case activity is slowing down in Tennessee, that’s not because most people in Tennessee have already been infected. In fact, the vast majority of Tennesseans have not been infected. If we look at confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our city, county or state, it's still less than 5% of the populations of those regions. The reason that things are improving is because of fundamental participation in acts that slow the spread of this virus.</p> <p>People can get fatigued from wearing masks or feeling like they're trapped inside, and it can be frustrating when we just want to give somebody a hug. But we're not out from underneath this pandemic yet. It's still active and there are still a lot of vulnerable populations to consider.</p> <p><strong>Have we found better and more effective ways to treat those critically ill COVID patients that we didn't have at the beginning of the outbreak?</strong></p> <p>Treatment has been a quickly moving target. It's so easy for us to forget that this disease didn't exist until essentially the end of 2019. There are literally hundreds of clinical trials for vaccines going on, and we have seen randomized controlled trials already completed that have told us vital information about potential therapies that have changed our practice.</p> <p>One good example is an antiviral drug remdesivir, an intravenous medication that has been mostly deployed for hospitalized patients. It has been repurposed for use in COVID-19 in large part because of the <a href="https://news.vumc.org/2020/04/06/vumc-team-aids-development-of-potential-antiviral-drug-for-covid-19/">pioneering work</a> of Mark Denison, MD, VUMC Director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and other pediatric infectious disease experts at VUMC. Dr. Denison has been studying coronaviruses for over 30 years, and it was his idea to go to the manufacturer of remdesivir years ago and suggest that it might have some coronavirus activity. That drug has been in clinical trials for COVID-19 and has been shown to accelerate recovery.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.wsmv.com/news/steroid-helps-curb-death-rate-of-severely-ill-covid-19-patients/article_0412fb3c-b0ec-11ea-bae4-7fe51e36ea59.html">other great advance</a> has been the use of an inexpensive medication called dexamethasone and some of its cousins in the corticosteroid family. These anti-inflammatory drugs have been around for a long time and can reduce the exuberance of an immune response to an infection. One of the ways that people get really sick with COVID-19 is because their own immune response flares, particularly in the lungs. We have learned from randomized control trials that dexamethasone actually improves survival for patients who require oxygen and are hospitalized with COVID-19.</p> <p>Here at VUMC, we are using both remdesivir and anti-inflammatory corticosteroids like dexamethasone. We're anticipating that new options are going to come online soon. It’s been rewarding to see that the scientific method works and can be used in a way that saves lives.</p> <p><strong>Why is it essential to test treatments in a structured, controlled way to determine if they’re beneficial?</strong></p> <p>With COVID-19, most people who are diagnosed with this disease do relatively well. Most patients recover without requiring hospitalization, and the vast majority do not die of the virus. For example, in Tennessee, for every 100 people who get diagnosed with COVID-19, 95 of them will recover. Some will recover with disabilities, but they will recover. However, that can make it challenging for us to understand how to improve outcomes.</p> <p>A healthcare professional might want to try out a vitamin, nutritional supplement or certain medicine on their COVID-19 patients. And if they treated 100 of their patients with COVID-19 with that medication or intervention, they would see about 95 of those patients avoid hospitalization and death. That might appear promising, but what's not clear is whether those actions are better than not doing them. In other words, we don’t know whether it's acceptable to accept any kind of risk of a potential therapy without knowing that there's a potential benefit.</p> <p>The beauty of placebo-controlled randomized trials is that we can test to see whether these ideas are truly effective. To do that requires enrolling a lot of patients in large studies in numerous hospitals across the United States and world. These studies must follow strict protocols, provide informed consent to participants and let them know that they may receive an active drug or a placebo. Through this learning process, we've seen how drugs like remdesivir and dexamethasone have become more valuable to us, as well as how drugs like hydroxychloroquine have become less useful.</p> <p><strong>What do we know about the potential for new treatment, such as convalescent plasma?</strong></p> <p>People who have survived COVID-19 have donated plasma, which may contain antibodies against the virus. In principle, the idea is that those antibodies could be protective for somebody who's infected with the virus and might reduce their risk of severe disease or death from COVID-19. Because there are a lot of people recovering from COVID-19, it has led to a lot of enthusiasm and immediate use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients.</p> <p>Unfortunately, we aren't at the point where we know if that approach is beneficial. We have a lot of questions: Should we be using convalescent plasma early in the course of disease? Should we be reserving it for people who are critically ill? Is it okay to use it for patients who are not hospitalized? Is it best to use it only for people who require oxygen? Should we measure antibody levels in the plasma before we use it? And if so, what are the best levels of antibody that are therapeutic right now? We don't have great answers to those questions. There are some hints that giving it earlier is better and that higher antibody levels are better than lower levels based on experience to date from uncontrolled clinical studies.</p> <p>Right now, Vanderbilt is leading a nationwide study on convalescent plasma to see if it’s beneficial and if so, who is most likely to benefit. (Read more about the study <a href="https://news.vumc.org/2020/08/21/vumc-awarded-34-million-to-lead-nationwide-convalescent-plasma-study/">here</a>.) If convalescent plasma was not such a precious resource, it may be more likely that it would be given outside of a clinical trial. But we need to make sure we're using it wisely and that it works.</p> <p><strong>Back in April, <a href="https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com/employer-insights-blog/covid-19-antibody-testing-qa-dr-david-aronoff-importance-validity-accuracy">you answered questions about antibodies</a>. What do we know now about how long antibodies last and offer protection for people?</strong></p> <p>Now that we've had so many millions of people around the world infected with COVID-19, we continue to build evidence that not many people come back with symptoms from a re-infection from the virus. That strongly suggests that once people recover from COVID-19, their immune system protects them against a symptomatic re-infection. Recently, there was a report of an individual who appears to have gotten reinfected with a true new infection of the virus. It's interesting that this re-infection was picked up on asymptomatic screening relating to travel, but he wasn’t symptomatic.</p> <p>That again suggests that it’s similar to when people are immunized for influenza: They can get infected with influenza but tend to be less sick with it and maybe even asymptomatic. It also suggests that even though people have recovered from COVID-19, they might be able to be re-infected and still transmit the virus to other people.</p> <p>We're also learning that the presence or absence of antibodies against the virus in our blood doesn't always correlate with our past history of infection. So some people with COVID-19 infection are losing detectable antibodies from their blood several weeks to months following infection. That does not mean that they're not protected against reinfection. Our immune system is much more complex than simply antibodies circulating in our bloodstream. This is a virus that infects our airways, so we have lots of immune cells in our airwaves, nose, throat and lungs that protect us at the source of infection.</p> <p>Our understanding is getting more refined about antibodies and COVID-19, but there’s much we still don’t know. We're still not using antibodies to tell people that they're protected from re-infection or they can't be part of a chain of transmission. We're still not using antibodies to help people return to work. We're not even using antibodies to rule out that somebody had COVID-19 in the past, because they could have had COVID-19 in April and by now their antibody levels are gone. I always need to remind myself we're only eight months into this illness. It’s hard to use the term longterm in terms of anything with this virus, when we haven't even gotten a year under our belt.</p> <p><strong>Did previous research into the SARS CoV-1 virus help prepare scientists for SAR CoV-2? Has some of the previous research helped in the quest for a vaccine?</strong></p> <p>The SARS CoV-1 virus, the cause of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), helped us understand the potential for animal coronaviruses to hop into people and deposit disease. That led to increased efforts to monitor animal populations and prepare for a pandemic. Other non-coronaviruses like Ebola or Zika have also helped us understand the global threat of viral infections in general. And the funding of basic science research has led to the capacity to do rapid genome sequencing of viruses and the ability to share that information in real time. It helps tell us if a new virus is genetically a new virus, and whether it is changing over time.</p> <p>Right now, there's not great evidence of different strains of the SARS COV-2 virus associated with different illnesses in people, though that may turn out to be the case over time. This all speaks to why investing in basic science research, informatics and data sciences continues to be important: You never know when all of those elements will need to come together quickly to improve human health and save lives.</p> <p><strong>What do we know about the timeline for a vaccine that we might not have known in the spring? How do you feel about predictions that it could arrive soon?</strong></p> <p>I don’t frequently make predictions by looking at a calendar and saying, we're going to have a treatment or a vaccine by this particular date. That’s because as a physician scientist, I understand how uncertain our future is when it comes to finding something that's safe and effective and that will be available to all. We’re seeing a lot of resources being deployed to making a vaccine. In fact, the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/science/coronavirus-vaccine-tracker.html">coronavirus vaccine tracker</a> from <em>The New York Times</em> shows more than 100 preclinical vaccines, with nine in phase three studies.</p> <p>Right now Vanderbilt is participating in one major vaccine trial. (Read more about the trial <a href="https://news.vumc.org/2020/07/15/vanderbilt-university-medical-center-to-recruit-up-to-1000-volunteers-for-covid-19-vaccine-trial/">here</a>.) It will take time to see results, then that data has to be examined carefully by data safety monitoring boards. So, optimistically, I think we will be into 2021 before we can decide if the vaccines now in phase three studies are ready for prime time. If those trials are successful, the next stage is FDA approval. Then there has to be a clear path to manufacturing them at scale, a way to identify who should get the vaccines first and a plan for how they will be distributed. There's a lot that needs to be worked out, so I'm reluctant to say we'll have a vaccine by January 1st, or one by this time next year. But I'm not reluctant to say that I'm very enthusiastic that we will have a vaccine, and I'm excited to see all the candidates coming down the pipeline.</p> <p><strong>Why do you think so many vaccines are in the pipeline? Is it normal to have that many possible vaccines for a virus or is that unique to COVID-19?</strong></p> <p>Yes, it is unprecedented to have so many vaccine candidates working their way through pipeline, but that’s what happens when you have a global pandemic and money and resources are being poured into curing it. There's motivation around not only helping people, but also motivation to do something high impact like save the planet! Normally vaccine development takes a long time in part because you have to search for investors and raise capital between each phase. Those bottlenecks don't exist right now. Yes, there are over 100 ideas in the works, but most of them are early in preclinical trials. But that we’ve gotten this close in just eight months is remarkable.</p> <p>Until we have new treatments or new vaccines, people need to continue to do the fundamental things that keep us all safe and understand that every individual person's sacrifices make a huge difference. And that's the most protective weapon we have right now.</p> <div> <div> <div id="_com_6" language="JavaScript"> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-barista-posts-full-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/barista_posts_full_image/public/Aronoff_David-portrait-JR0-copy.jpg?itok=PCairUgL" width="576" height="384" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-barista-posts-full-image" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lockdown-auth field--type-string field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Lockdown Auth</div> <div class="field__item">1</div> </div> Tue, 15 Sep 2020 11:00:00 +0000 roberjm7 128 at https://employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com