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Nashville, TN Remains Health Care City USA

Nashville continues to serve as a global leader in the health-care industry.

By John McBryde on April 23, 2015

Nashville, TN
Nashville / Jeffery S. Otto

In the late 1960s, Nashville began to steadily emerge into a global leader in the health-care industry. Its prominence continues today, thanks to a deeply rooted family tree of companies, ongoing investments from corporations and venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs who are driving innovation in a rapidly changing landscape. Based on numbers alone, the impact of health care in Nashville is astounding, with a global footprint of more than 400,000 jobs (200,000 locally) and $70 billion in revenues ($30 billion locally).

Among its many valuable services, the Nashville Health Care Council (NHCC) maintains a visual Family Tree that illustrates the evolution and interconnectedness of more than 500 area health-care firms.

“Nashville is a one-of-a-kind center of innovation in the U.S., with worldwide impact on the industry landscape,” says NHCC President Caroline Young.

A Legacy of Leadership

Equally important is the national and global influence of Nashville’s health-care leaders – including 16 publicly traded companies and the talented executives who guide them – and their diverse areas of expertise. Consider the NHCC’s Leadership Health Care (LHC) initiative, which has 900 individual members from more than 300 companies.

“LHC nurtures the talent and potential of Nashville’s rising health-care professionals, preparing them to lead the industry and continue the city’s legacy as the health-care epicenter,” Young says.

Growing Stronger

That legacy is only getting stronger, as evidenced by the industry’s current growth spurt. HCA, for example, is building a $200 million headquarters in downtown’s vibrant Gulch district to house the company’s Parallon Business Solutions and Sarah Cannon Research Institute subsidiaries, while also expanding the company’s data center. LifePoint, an HCA spinoff, recently built a glistening, 200,000-square-foot headquarters in Brentwood, reflecting both its ongoing strength and commitment to the local community.

“LifePoint is proud to be headquartered in Middle Tennessee, the nation’s health-care capital,” says Bill Carpenter, the firm’s chairman and CEO. “When we identified the need to expand to accommodate LifePoint’s continued growth, staying in this community was important to us.”

Being based in Nashville “allows us easy access to the most current and innovative resources in health care for our hospitals and physicians,” says Carpenter, noting that more than 500 employees work out of the new offices to support LifePoint’s 60-plus hospitals and 38,000 employees nationwide.

Nurturing Innovation

Other key players, including AmSurg, Community Health Systems and Brookdale Senior Living Inc., are growing operations through acquisitions, bringing more capital and employees into the fold. These expansions are also spurring growth for firms like HealthStream, which provides health-care workforce development and patient experience tools to several of these providers. HealthStream is adding 200 jobs at its new patient interview center to the 400 it already supports across the city. Over the years, a collaborative health-care culture has spawned spinoffs, startups and more than 300 related service firms – including a burgeoning health-care IT cluster – pumping additional economic benefits into the region.

“Since the founding of HCA four decades ago, the city has had a strong history of nurturing entrepreneurship, supported by deep industry expertise and strong access to capital,” Young says.

Innovators include Inc. 500 firm and mobile health technology developer Entrada as well as several health-care technology firms experiencing rapid growth like InQuicker, Xtend Healthcare, Medalogix, onFocus Healthcare and emids. Also growing in the region are companies like Aspire Health, which works to bring down costs and raise the quality of care for patients facing life-threatening illnesses, and naviHealth, which focuses on boosting the quality and efficiency of post-acute care.

Right at Home

Change Healthcare, which helps employers and health plans focus on cost transparency and consumer engagement, “is proud to call Nashville home,” says Doug Ghertner, the company’s president and CEO.

“The city offers entrepreneurs and earlier-stage companies access to a network of experienced health-care operators and talented individuals that provide the ideal foundation for building a health-care business.”

During the past two years, Change Healthcare, which was acquired by Nashville-based health payment firm Emdeon in 2014, increased the lives in its platform from 200,000 to nearly 10 million, built a client base with a national footprint and more than doubled its staff, Ghertner says. The company was named a NEXT Award winner for being the “Growth Health Care Company of the Year,” and has been included among Modern Healthcare’s 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare for two years running.

“That progress doesn’t happen without a solid foundation of support and a city committed to helping businesses grow,” Ghertner says. “We are thrilled that we can do our part to give back, helping to create jobs and support Nashville’s rich health-care culture.”

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