|Private Bankers Make House Calls on Physicians|
"We make the house calls so they don't have to," says Bob Lawhon, senior vice president and team leader for SunTrust Bank's Medical Specialty Group in Nashville. Lawhon is one of a growing number of Middle Tennessee bankers who make personal banking services to physicians and other healthcare professionals a full-time job.
"We try to be a one-stop shop for them to serve both the physician and the practice. We can provide what they need personally, but also what they need to run their practice, whether they need equipment financing for the business or they need a savings account or investment options for a college education," he says. "We really have tried to make it very easy and convenient for them. I've had people go close a loan outside of an operating room before."
Lawhon is one of eight private bankers, called "client advisers" at SunTrust, who specialize in services to doctors. The bank also has locations near both Baptist Hospital and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Lawhon describes private bankers as "one point of contact for the doctor" who can pull other experts within the bank to the table when the client needs specialized assistance.
By Sharon H. Fitzgerald
Healthcare Adds $18.3 Billion to Area Economy
Led by Murat Arik, PhD, associate director of the BERC
Last month, the Nashville Health Care Council unveiled the results of an in-depth research study into the economic impact the healthcare industry has on Middle Tennessee's economy.
The common assumption was that healthcare is a large, vibrant industry … that Nashville holds a unique place in the country's entrepreneurial sector of medicine … and that the area's research, teaching and corporate facilities generally add to the nation's body of knowledge when it comes to preventing or fighting disease.
Now, however, there is hard data showing the mutually beneficial relationship between the Nashville MSA and healthcare.
Conducted by the Business and Economic Research Center at Middle Tennessee State University, the analysis compared Nashville to a dozen similar MSAs such as Dallas, Atlanta and Birmingham and found Nashville to be the leader based on objective indicators relating to the industry and infrastructure.
Tennessee's Malpractice Climate Pushes Healthcare to "Crisis" Level
Dr. Michael Minch (from Nashville), AMA President Dr. Edward Hill (from Tupelo, Miss.), Dr. Phyllis Miller, Tennessee Medical Association president (from Chattanooga, Tenn.), and Dr. Bronn Rayne, chair of the TMA Board of Trustees (from Cookeville, Tenn.)
With a rallying cry of "reform now or pay later," officials with the Tennessee Medical Association, joined by American Medical Association President Dr. Edward Hill, said at a press conference held in Nashville on February 14 that the state's legal climate had deteriorated to a crisis point.
In moving from a designation of "showing problem signs" to "in crisis," Tennessee joins 20 other states identified by the AMA as having the most severe issues as a result of the malpractice legal climate.
Dr. Phyllis Miller, TMA president, an obstetrician from Chattanooga, said access to care is a key reason a reform law must be enacted.
"We're facing access problems not only in emergency medicine and obstetrics but also in neurosurgery and general surgery," she said. "Some of our state's best surgeons are no longer in practice. These people are victims of a broken medical liability system."
Dr. Edward Hill said this broken system, which has resulted in lawsuit costs, settlements and jury awards, has forced insurance premiums to skyrocket.
"Tennessee's medical liability crisis is a microcosm of what's happening on a national level," he said. "Access to care is suffering in 43 states," Hill continued, noting 21 states were now in crisis with another 22 showing problem signs.
By Cindy Sanders