In focus: Wright Pinson

Vanderbilt Health chief anticipates care networks

He may lack a crystal ball that can predict where health care is headed, but Dr. C. Wright Pinson is equipped with something more reliable — three decades-plus of experience as a surgeon, chief executive officer and organ transplant pioneer.

As Vanderbilt Health System’s chief executive officer, deputy vice chancellor for health affairs and senior associate dean for clinical affairs, Pinson — who also holds engineering and MBA degrees — oversees 1,500 academic physicians, 48,000 yearly surgical operations  and an annual budget in excess of $2.5 billion.

With the nation grappling with skyrocketing health care costs, health care reform and an influx of millions of Baby Boomers, Pinson believes two main themes will dominate: accessibility and affordability.

“We’ve got to figure out how to care for people more efficiently and less expensively,” Pinson recently said in an interview with Post sister publication Nashville Medical News. “With the economy the way it is, those populations of patients need us right now.”

Pinson believes many of the innovations in delivery of care in the Vanderbilt Health System are emblematic of what the nationwide faces in the coming decade. Rather than an emphasis on a single facility as a point of care, Pinson foresees an ever-increasing network of hospitals and doctors spanning states and regions.

Specifically, Pinson anticipatesVanderbilt leading a 20-hosptial network reaching widely into Tennessee’s towns, cities and rural areas. VUMC began its initial foray into health care networks in 2011 when it began joint parterships with Maury Regional Medical Center, Williamson Medical Center, Northcrest Medical Center and, more recently, West Tennessee Healthcare.