In 1995, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital (ETCH) and its medical staff studied a variety of strategies to deal with the changing managed care environment in East Tennessee. The relationship between ETCH and its medical community has a long history of mutual respect and cooperation. The idea for a children’s health network came jointly from the pediatric medical community and East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville and became a reality with the formation of Partners in Pediatrics (Partners) in 1996.
Today, Partners is one of the few successful pediatric physician-hospital organizations (PHO) in the United States. It is a Tennessee taxable not-for-profit organization incorporated under Tennessee Corporate Laws. Partners is a Messenger Model PHO that currently holds 25 managed care contracts. Presently, there are approximately 326 pediatric primary care and specialty physician members of Partners with practice locations up to 90 miles from Knoxville. The only facility members of Partners are East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and affiliates along with Children’s West Surgery Center, a joint venture between ETCH and area pediatric surgeons and dentists.
As the only hospital member of Partners, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital (ETCH) is a 152-bed pediatric medical center serving East Tennessee. ETCH provides a full array of pediatric services to its service area. While there are four other Children’s Hospitals in Tennessee, ETCH is the only independent free standing pediatric facility of its kind in Tennessee. ETCH is known as a family centered hospital that maintains high standards of patient care and an environment that is conducive to the emotional well being of children. Partners’ shares this mission with ETCH.
Partners has been successful in developing quality commercial managed care contracts that benefit its membership as well as the contracted managed care organizations. Managed care in Knoxville and the surrounding area consists mostly of fee-for-service PPOs and third party payors.