Statement from Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Jeffrey R. Balser on health care reform legislation

Vanderbilt University supports the comprehensive health care reform legislation pending before Congress. As one of the largest private employers in Tennessee and the home of one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, Vanderbilt cares deeply about the health and well being of its patients, employees, students and fellow citizens. The mission of our academic medical center is to advance health and wellness for all people through preeminent programs in patient care, education and research. We believe that health care reform is urgently needed and that this legislation will enhance health security, improve the public health care infrastructure, and reduce the impact of uncompensated care on healthcare providers such as Vanderbilt.

Reducing the number of uninsured Americans is simply the right thing to do. Further, we believe the initiatives to encourage improvements in quality, patient safety, delivery system improvements and payment reforms should help moderate the rising cost of health care, thereby benefiting our economy and the nation’s financial health. Beyond these general benefits, we believe the demonstration projects and other initiatives to encourage improvements in quality, patient safety, delivery system reforms, and payment reforms will lead to valuable and cost-saving systemic reforms.

We know that leaving uninsured care to the nation’s emergency rooms and failing to address the rapidly increasing costs of health care is no longer economically sustainable or morally defensible. While this bill is not perfect, there will be ample opportunities to make adjustments as its provisions are implemented over the next few years. As a center of education for the next generation of health care providers, a major provider of health care regionally and nationally, and as the second largest Tennessee-based employer in the state, Vanderbilt believes the reforms embodied in the legislation will improve our health insurance and health care delivery systems and is pleased to offer its support for this effort.