2 min read March 2023 — Invest: spoke with Jason Zachariah, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Lifepoint Health, about its recent acquisition and rebranding initiative, the former of which he said is helping the company further enhance patient care by adding both inpatient rehabilitation and inpatient behavioral health services.
What prompted the company’s recent rebranding?
While Lifepoint has been based in Middle Tennessee for 23 years, we have evolved significantly since our founding, along with the larger healthcare ecosystem. This was an intentional evolution over time with a focus on different aspects of healthcare, most recently including behavioral health and inpatient rehabilitation. In 2021, we acquired Kindred Healthcare in Louisville, Kentucky. The company was a $3.5 billion organization that focused on post-acute care and behavioral health. This transaction significantly expanded the company’s footprint. In 2023, we will see the acquisition of Springstone Health and its behavioral health platform, which will make Lifepoint the second-biggest provider of inpatient rehabilitation in the country and the third-biggest provider of inpatient behavioral health.
This important evolution of our company into a diversified healthcare delivery network is reflected in our newly launched brand, which includes a heart icon that is rich with symbolism. The heart shape represents our caring, compassionate and inclusive culture and our mission of making communities healthier. At the center of the heart is one dot that is larger than the rest, representing the importance of patient-centered care driving everything we do. The rest of the dots that make up the heart represent our diverse communities and partnerships, and our talented team members who serve our patients and their families from coast to coast.
How has demand for your services shifted?
The need for high-quality behavioral health services has been on the rise in recent years, and this was further exacerbated following the COVID-19 pandemic. I think this is one of the biggest shifts in demand we have seen and a key reason we are particularly focused on the growth of this part of our business as we look ahead to 2023.
We are also seeing greater demand for telehealth services overall. People are more comfortable with virtual visits than ever before, so we want to be sure they are able to easily access the care they need in the setting they prefer. Extending our ability to care for patients outside of traditional care settings and being able to engage with them where, when and how they want to connect is a foundation of our strategy.
There is also a lot of growth in cardiovascular medicine because of the aging population in the communities we serve and addressing these health needs is at the core of our mission of making communities healthier. The good news is that more people are investing in their heart health early, which is helping with prevention. However, when it comes to managing the consequences of poor cardiovascular health, we are focused on bringing innovative technologies and solutions to our markets to help keep patients close to home. One example of this is our work with Cadence, which provides remote patient monitoring for those with heart failure. This is particularly important in less urban parts of the country, which have a higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease and where access to high-quality care may be limited. This is just one example of how we are focusing on innovation and how we can better support our patients – meeting them where they are to provide the right care at the right time.
How is Lifepoint helping to shape the future of healthcare?
One important step we have taken is funding our own incubator, called 25m Health, to build and invest in businesses that can help solve the healthcare challenges that we are all facing, especially on the provider side. 25m Health is one important pillar of our broader Lifepoint Forward innovation strategy. We recognize that so many of the best ideas come from our caregivers at the bedside in the communities where we are delivering care. Our diverse network provides an excellent platform for innovation, so we can stack the deck for fledgling companies and entrepreneurs in a setting that allows them to develop, test and pilot new technologies that can have a meaningful impact. There is an economic return if we do this well because we are the first and best customer for these service solutions. Build-partner-buy is how we look at it, which is a spirit of the success of Middle Tennessee and Nashville. This helps us to support patients in underserved geographies and care settings. These are areas we are hoping to seed and push the frontiers of medicine.
What makes Nashville and Middle Tennessee so strong in the healthcare sector?
Middle Tennessee has a strong healthcare legacy with Hospital Corporation of America, Vanderbilt and other long-standing organizations. The business sector here is powered by a network of collaborative companies and a vibrant group of colleges and universities that create a pipeline of talent and innovation. There is a dynamic culture here, where a strong work ethic meets Southern charm. It is a great place for work-life balance and has unique traditions. The community has made a huge investment to create an industry clustering effect, such as through organizations like the Nashville Health Care Council. In addition, there is a focus on fostering new companies and tech innovation through the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. These products and solutions are then infused into the healthcare innovation system. The result is a true vertically integrated solution to serve the healthcare population at large.
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