Friday, August 30, 2013

For-Profit Hospital Town USA

Green Bay is “TitleTown”, just as Detroit is “Hockeytown” and St. Louis is the “Best Baseball Town in America”.  The descriptions are nicknames of cities and towns that are familiar to many and used with regularity throughout the sports industry.  In the healthcare industry, what if you heard the phrase “The Nation’s Health Care Capital” or “For-Profit Hospital Town USA”?   To some the answer might not be as obvious and the response might surprise….it’s Nashville, Tennessee.

Green Bay, Wisconsin is the NFL’s smallest market by far and the smallest city to boast a major professional sports franchise (pop. 100,353) however every game at Lambeau Field has been sold out since 1960. The Green Bay Packers have had 13 championships seasons including nine NFL championships prior to the Super Bowl era and four Super Bowl victories, more than any other team in the NFL.  The team has earned and embraced its nickname so much that the name "Titletown" appears on the city seal and the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce web address is

In Detroit, Michigan the term "Hockeytown" was part of a 1996 marketing campaign by the Detroit Red Wings, an Original Six team, to celebrate the team’s success after more than four decades of struggle.  It was also the same year the Red Wings won its first Stanley Cup since 1955 and the phrase is now a registered trademark owned by the franchise.  Detroit has won 11 Stanley Cups (four in recent past) are second only to the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadians, neither of which have won a championship in nearly two decades.

The national media and TV broadcasters commonly refer to St. Louis as the “Best baseball town in America”.  Drawing from a regional fan base that includes Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky, the St. Louis Cardinals are one of only two MLB franchises to draw at least 3 million fans at home in 14 of the last 15 seasons.  They are also one of the most decorated and successful franchises in MLB history, having won eleven World Series championships, 18 National League pennants, and ten division titles. Their eleven World Series titles are second overall only to the New York Yankees.
Within the healthcare industry, the NFL, NHL, and MLB equivalent city is Nashville, Tennessee.  While it’s more commonly known as the center of the music industry, nicknamed "Music City", there are more than 300 healthcare companies that operate from Nashville on a multi-state, national or international basis.  In fact, globally, healthcare companies located there generate more than $70 billion of revenue and employ more than 400,000 people.  With a 50 percent increase from 1995 to 2008, clinical provider job growth in Nashville has outpaced the nation (35 percent) and Tennessee (40 percent).

The Nashville area is also pretty much the headquarters for the for-profit hospital industry, and is home to 16 public healthcare companies.  According to a July 2013 report by Becker’s Hospital Review, seven of the 13 largest for-profit hospital operators in the country (and three of the top four) are based in Nashville.  Hospital management companies from the area manage over 60 percent of all the for-profit hospital beds in the country.  Nashville also has a significant presence in ambulatory and outpatient surgery, dialysis, disease management, clinical research, hospital management support services and healthcare information technology.
While nicknames like “The Nation’s Health Care Capital” or “For-Profit Hospital Town USA” will never challenge the charm “TitleTown” or “Hockeytown”, in terms of importance Nashville, is well on its way to becoming the center of the healthcare universe.  Many healthcare leaders such as Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Jr. already refer to it as “The Silicon Valley of healthcare” and with the staggering amount the venture capital community has invested in healthcare services it hard to not recognize Nashville’s significance to the industry.

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