Nashville, TN's Premier Medical Services Keep Health-Care Industry Booming

More than 30 hospitals, medical centers and clinics, including the nationally ranked Vanderbilt University Medical Center, set Nashville apart as a destination for top-notch health care.

Tiffany Williams
On Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 04:00
Nashville, TN

Nashville has been called the Silicon Valley of health care, and for good reason. The industry is the city's fastest-growing and largest employer. The health-care industry provides the Nashville economy with approximately $30 billion and 200,000 jobs annually. 

The effects of Nashville as a health care mecca extend far beyond Music City, the borders of Tennessee or even the United States. Globally, Nashville's health care companies contribute more than $70 billion in revenue to the world economy and more than 400,000 jobs annually. Meanwhile, the Nashville Health Care Council, an association of health care industry leaders founded in 1995 by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, works hard to ensure continued growth in the sector to further establish the region as the nation's health care industry capital.

The benefit of such a strong health-care sector is twofold for residents of Middle Tennessee: Not only do these companies strengthen the local economy but they ensure greater choice, convenience and access to the most advanced health care services available anywhere, provided by scores of hospitals, medical centers, specialized clinics and practices. 

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

One of Nashville's most nationally recognized names in health care, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is one of the nation’s premier research and teaching facilities and in 2011 ranked in 11 of 16 specialties examined by U.S. News & World Report. The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt also made the list, ranking in 10 of 10 specialties, including No. 5 in urology.

Besides being among the top-performing facilities in the Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals Report for 2011, VUMC also earned recognition from Healthcare IT News for being among the "most wired" hospital systems in the country.  

With more than 800 beds, VUMC serves patients from all over the mid-South region and employs more than 14,000 full-time staff members.

Hospital Corporation of America & TriStar Health System

Another huge name in health care is Nashville-based Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), which in 2011 became a publicly traded company for the third time since its 1968 founding. Meanwhile, LifePoint Hospitals, an HCA spinoff, recently formed a joint venture with Duke University Health System to assemble a network of hospitals throughout North Carolina. 

In terms of local care providers, HCA's TriStar Health System is the Middle Tennessee region’s largest health-care system, and its local hospitals are known for their surgical and cardiovascular care. Area HCA facilities include Centennial Medical Center (also making the 2011 Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals report), Summit Medical Center‚ Skyline Medical CenterSarah Cannon Cancer Center, Hendersonville Medical CenterSouthern Hills Medical Center, Stonecrest Medical Center in Smyrna and Horizon Medical Center in Dickson.

In addition to HCA, Vanguard Health Systems also recently went public. The Nashville-based company owns and operates 26 hospitals in five states, as well as two surgery centers and three health insurance plans.

Saint Thomas Health 

Still thousands more turn to the facilities and providers of Saint Thomas Health, formed in 2002 and including Saint Thomas Hospital and Baptist Hospital

Saint Thomas Hospital‚ operated by the Daughters of Charity and founded in 1898‚ is nationally recognized for its outstanding cardiac and cancer units. It has been recognized many times as a Top 100 Hospital by Thomson Reuters Healthcare, and has received HealthGrades awards for patient experience, patient safety and clinical excellence.

Baptist Hospital is Nashville’s largest not-for-profit medical center. Founded in 1919‚ the hospital’s main campus covers nearly 2 million square feet and spans more than six city blocks. Baptist Hospital has achieved multiple HealthGrades five-star ratings in cardiac care, orthopedics, pulmonary care and gastrointestinal surgery. The hospital also is well known for its Women’s Pavilion‚ where approximately 7‚000 babies are delivered each year – more than any other hospital in Middle Tennessee.

Besides these two hospitals, Saint Thomas Health comprises Middle Tennessee Medical Center, The Hospital for Spinal Surgery, Hickman Community Hospital, Baptist Sports Medicine, Saint Thomas Outpatient Imaging, 13 ambulatory centers, 250 physician practices and 18 other subsidiaries.

Health-Care Industry Keeps Booming

The health-care industry in Nashville continues to chart growth in terms of expansions, relocations and ultimately new jobs for the region. A few highlights from recent announcements include: Healthcare management Systems, which develops, sells and supports integrated clinical and financial hospital information systems and services, expaneded, adding 81 jobs; APS Healthcare, relocating to Franklin, expects to create 75 positions; Emdeon, a leading provider of revenue and payment cycle management and clinical information exchange solutions, recently added 40 jobs; and HealthSpring Inc. plans for as many as 300 positions at its new $53 million headquarters of the next two years. 


Tiffany L. Williams is currently a graduate student at Michigan State University, where she is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in journalism with an emphasis in documentary filmmaking.