Hospital CEO sees bright future for now independent Vanderbilt University Medical Center

As of 12:01 a.m. on April 30, Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt University Medical Center is officially an independent, nonprofit health system, capping nearly three years of planning for the financial and legal restructuring for its separation from Vanderbilt University, according to The Tennessean.

Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, president and CEO of VUMC, has a positive outlook on the health system's independence, saying its newfound agility will help it realize an "exceedingly bright" future. Dr. Balser also serves as dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Separating itself from the university gives VUMC greater nimbleness and ability to respond to changes in the healthcare industry without having to involve the university in an approval process, according to Dr. Balser.

"The medical center, as an employer, is better positioned to succeed in a very competitive and dynamic healthcare economy," Dr. Balser told The Tennessean. "The long-term future of the medical center is exceedingly bright."

With approximately 20,000 employees, VUMC is the largest employer in Tennessee behind the state government. According to Dr. Balser, the number of VUMC employees could grow as the organization looks to expand its research and educational programs.

VUMC clinicians are still faculty at Vanderbilt's medical school and its name will not change, according to the report. The governance structure of the independent health system will include an 11-person board.

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