NASHVILLE, Tenn.  (August 1, 2018)Saint Thomas Health, and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, along with Tennessee Orthopaedic Alliance (TOA), are excited to announce they have taken an additional step to further their strategic partnership, including plans for an expansion of the Saint Thomas Joint Replacement Institute (STJRI). Additionally, Saint Thomas Health and TOA have signed a clinically integrated alliance agreement. The agreements align with Saint Thomas Health’s approach to serve as the partner of choice for independent physician groups and health insurance plans, and provide patient-centered services in clinically appropriate settings, focused on quality, access and affordability.

The partnership includes plans to bring total joint replacement surgeries to outpatient surgery centers across Middle Tennessee, bringing the quality and clinical standards of STJRI closer to home. The innovative collaboration allows for care coordination between the largest orthopedic surgery group in Middle Tennessee, the state’s largest commercial health insurance carrier, and the largest health system-based joint replacement program in Middle Tennessee.

“We have collaborated with Saint Thomas Health on a number of initiatives over the past several years, and we are excited about this new endeavor, which brings options for high-quality and cost-effective joint replacement care closer to where our members live and work,” said Marc Barclay, vice president of provider network contracting for BlueCross.

As an extension of this partnership, Saint Thomas Joint Replacement Institute (STJRI) is expanding from its current hospital-based locations at Saint Thomas Midtown, Saint Thomas West and Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospitals to Ambulatory Surgery Centers across the region, working with BlueCross BlueShield leadership to identify the areas of greatest need across Middle Tennessee. Each patient’s qualification for total joint replacement surgery in the outpatient setting will be assessed based on certain medical selection criteria as defined by the program.

“The distinctive program continues Saint Thomas Health’s efforts to serve as an innovative, early-adopter bringing best practices in the country to Middle Tennessee communities, with a disciplined focus on convenient access, quality and affordability,” said Fahad Tahir, president and CEO of Saint Thomas Midtown and West Hospitals. “This approach further positions Saint Thomas Health as Middle Tennessee’s premier destination for orthopedic services and the partner of choice for independent physicians and health plans.”

The agreement will include shared strategy and clinical integration, providing opportunities for sharing patient data between the three parties for seamless care coordination and implementation of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Once fully implemented, the expanded program will provide patients with a more cost-effective option of total joint replacement surgery in suburban and community settings throughout the region.

“Our relationship will enhance access to affordable healthcare for those we serve in communities across Middle Tennessee,” said Gordon Ferguson, president and CEO of Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital and president of Saint Thomas Regional Hospitals.

“As orthopedic leaders in Middle Tennessee, TOA physicians consistently strive to provide the highest quality care to our patients. We view this collaborative effort with BlueCross and Saint Thomas Health as an innovative approach to continue that quality of care in a cost-effective, convenient and safe manner that best serves our patients throughout our service area,” said Dr. Dan Phillips, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and TOA Board President. “We take pride in acting as the partner of choice in this endeavor with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and Saint Thomas Health.”

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