By Drew Hutchinson
Reporter, Nashville Business Journal
Ascension Saint Thomas will partner with Urgent Team Family of Urgent Care & Walk-In Centers to rebrand care centers throughout Middle Tennessee, expanding affordable health services in the area and creating new opportunities for the hospital to attract patients.
The joint venture begins in December and will brand 14 urgent care locations with the Saint Thomas logo by early next year. Urgent Team, which owns more than 60 walk-in care facilities across the Southeast, will be managing partner, retaining control over the locations’ operations, said Tim Adams, CEO of Saint Thomas Health. The deal has been more than a year in the making, said Tom Dent, Urgent Team’s CEO.
While he declined to state specifics, Dent called the deal a “significant relationship financially” that will expand accessible health care for decades to come. The new line of Urgent Care Ascension Saint Thomas locations could also mean more traffic for the hospital if consumers need further treatment.
“Patients always have a choice where they go,” Adams said, but “we anticipate most of those will stay in our network.”
Adams called the venture a way to lower cost of care in the region — more urgent care centers could mean fewer emergency room visits — and create better-integrated health care. Urgent Team has identified at least 10 markets that still lack these facilities, so it’s likely that more locations will pop up over the next couple years, Dent said.
Right now, the most important work is integration — or allowing patients easy access to services at both urgent care locations and Saint Thomas hospital system, the two men said. Also on the horizon is revamping signage and other marketing materials to reflect the new branding.
“Ascension Saint Thomas’ reputation for clinical care and service combined with Urgent Team’s proficiency in offering a quality, patient experience in a retail setting, further positions our health system to become the leading on-demand network in Middle Tennessee,” Adams said in a news release.
The move is one in a long line of partnerships Saint Thomas had made in recent years with outside care providers.
Saint Thomas announced in October that it would enter into a similar partnership with Results Physiotherapy — and Adams said the hospital system may not be done growing and integrating.
“We’re always looking for ways to expand our reach,” he said. “I would see us continuing to do these sort of partnerships in the future.”