Vanderbilt University Medical Center plans to invest about $15 million "very quickly" in upgrading what is now Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital and what was known as Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon.

VUMC's acquisition of the hospital was announced in March and became final Thursday. Vanderbilt has big plans for the hospital, which includes the 245-bed main campus on West Baddour Parkway and a satellite facility on Park Avenue, according to Dr. C. Wright Pinson, deputy CEO and chief health system officer for VUMC.

"We will need to invest in the plant and facilities and new programs and other new equipment," said Pinson.

"It'll be something like $15 million we know we're going to have to spend very quickly."

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Vanderbilt has already taken the initial steps to open a radiation oncology department, and has plans for urology and gastroenterology services, among others.

"You will see us add additional services, additional equipment and additional physicians," Pinson said. "These are initiatives to respond to the needs of the hospital and needs of the community as we understand them."

Pinson said a high percentage of Wilson County residents leave the county for hospital care, many going to Vanderbilt in Nashville. His goal is to have those people stay in Wilson County and utilize the local facility.

"We're going to try to make services available in Wilson County for Wilson County residents," he said. "We know that our Vanderbilt hospitals in Nashville are full and we know some of those patients come from Wilson County."

VUMC will be bringing Vanderbilt's reputation for high-quality care to the Lebanon hospital, Pinson said.

The hospital is averaging about 60 in-patients this summer and 80 overall for the year, said Jay Hinesley, who is staying on as president of the hospital. He said under Vanderbilt, which is a not-for-profit operation, the hospital would be able to elevate its level of care. Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon was part of the for-profit Community Health Systems Inc.

For patients worried about whether their local hospital would remain part of their medical insurance network, Pinson said he thought that "most if not all" provider contracts have been transferred to VUMC.

Both Pinson and Hinesley said the hospital plans to remain an engaged member of the community.

"I think you can expect us to maintain our identity as a community hospital," Hinesley said, one where you can see your doctors, nurses and administrators at the grocery store and church.

"We're delighted to be operating in Wilson County and we intend to be good citizens in Wilson County and continue to make contributions," Pinson said.

Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash is upbeat about the change.

"My reaction is that it's a really good day for Lebanon and Wilson County," he said. "They're going to put more money and bring more doctors into the hospital. Vanderbilt's reputation is huge and very positive."

Hinesley, who came here two years ago, has been active in the community a member of the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce board and the Noon Rotary club. He and his wife, Catherine, have three school-age children.

"Lebanon is attractive in that it has a strong sense of community," Hinesley said. "This is a very warm place and with a lot of people very committed to the community."

Cumberland University announced Friday that Pinson had been elected to the school's board of trustees.

"Dr. Pinson brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our board, and I am pleased to welcome him to the Cumberland family," said Cumberland President Paul Stumb in a news release.

VUMC's acquisition includes clinics and outpatient services that are now named Vanderbilt Surgery Center, Vanderbilt Sleep Disorders Center, Vanderbilt Primary Care, Vanderbilt Primary Care Walk-In and Vanderbilt Gastroenterology. It is the first acquisition of an existing hospital by VUMC.

The purchase "strategically places Vanderbilt as the dominant provider of health care services in one of Metro Nashville's fastest growing bedroom communities," Jeff Balser, president and CEO of VUMC, said in a news release. "Through the addition of this hospital into our health system, we are advancing the Medical Center's mission to improve health throughout the region while meeting patients' needs wherever they are."

The release states VUMC "retained substantially all" of the more than 200 physicians and 600 administrators employed by the hospital.

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