Baptist Completes Merger With Miss. Health System

Memphis-based Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. and Mississippi Baptist Health Systems of Jackson, Mississippi, have completed a merger, making the new health care system one of the largest not-for-profit health care systems in the country.

The completion comes about eight months after the two hospitals first started merger talks in September. The Federal Trade Commission has approved the merger, and both systems have signed a shared mission agreement.

The combined hospital system will be the largest provider in the Mid-South as well as the largest health care system in Mississippi. It will also be Mississippi’s fourth largest employer.

Baptist Memorial has 17 hospitals in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, and Mississippi Baptist has four in Mississippi. Baptist Memorial’s Baptist OneCare electronic health record system is being installed in Mississippi Baptist hospitals and clinics.

“This merger will have a significant impact on health care and our communities,” said Jason Little, president and CEO of Baptist Memorial Health Care. “By combining our resources, we can invest more heavily in our team members, facilities and equipment, which will result in greater access to new technologies, best practices and medical specialists.”

– Andy Meek

Tigers Kicker Jake Elliott Drafted by Cincinnati

Memphis place kicker Jake Elliott became the latest Tiger to join the NFL via the draft, being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth round and the 153rd overall pick.

Elliott becomes the second Tiger kicker to be drafted. Stephen Gostkowski, whose records Elliott broke this season, was drafted in the fourth round (118thoverall) by New England in 2006.

Elliott leaves Memphis as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 445 points (passing NFL veterans Gostkowski and DeAngelo Williams), also putting him among the career top 10 in FBS scoring by a kicker. In four years at Memphis, Elliott was a perfect 202-for-202 on point-after-touchdown attempts (PATs), and his 81 field goals made and 104 attempted are both career records for Memphis.

In total, Elliott holds the Memphis school records in scoring and points kicking (445), PATs made (202), PAT attempts (202), field goals made (81), field goal attempts (104) and field goal percentage (77.9). He also holds the school records for the longest field goal with his 56-yarder at USF in 2013.

The Western Springs, Illinois, native was also a key component of a Memphis special teams unit that ranked as one of the best in the country. In 2016, Memphis ranked second in the country in kick-return defense (16.04 ypr) and Elliott recorded 64 touchbacks on 92 kickoffs (69.6 percent). His 64 touchbacks led the American Athletic Conference and ranked third nationally.

– Don Wade

ServiceMaster Endows U of M Anthropology Fellowship

Memphis-based ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc. has endowed a design and ethnography fellowship at the University of Memphis with a multiyear, $42,000 grant.

The residential and commercial service provider announced the fellowship will benefit one student per school year in the College of Arts and Sciences’ anthropology department.

“Businesses are beginning to embrace ethnography to better understand and serve their clients,” said Tom Nenon, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, in a written statement. “It’s an emerging field nationwide.”

The students will work with Kevin Newton, ServiceMaster’s on-staff anthropologist.

“From choosing a service provider to interacting with a website or mobile app, studying anthropology helps us understand why consumers make certain decisions,” said Jamie Smith, ServiceMaster senior vice president and chief information officer.

– Bill Dries

‘Great Streets’ Pilot Project Introduced

Plans for protected bike lanes and pedestrian spaces between FedExForum and the Mississippi riverfront are being planned as part of “Great Streets” pilot project the city of Memphis is to announce Tuesday, May 2.

The project is scheduled for a June 26 launch as the city hosts the national conference for the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycling Professionals. The funders and partners of the effort include the Hyde Family Foundations, UrbanArt Commission, Looney Ricks Kiss, DCA and Ikea.

– Bill Dries

Tenn. Republican Party Names New Leaders

Tennessee Republican Party chairman Scott Golden has named Michael Sullivan as the state party’s new executive director and Ashley Hesseldahl-Harbin as finance director.

Sullivan is a former political director and deputy executive director of the state party who in the 2016 presidential campaign worked for the Republican National Committee in Iowa.

Hesseldahl-Harbin comes to the state party position from being bill clerk for the Tennessee General Assembly.

– Bill Dries

Baptist Earns Distinction For Electronic Records

Baptist Memorial Health Care has earned a rare 10-star rating from Epic, one of the largest electronic health record providers in the nation.

The distinction means Baptist has adopted more of Epic’s nearly 700 “Gold Star items” than any other health care organization, according to Beverly Jordan, vice president and chief information and transformation officer at Baptist. Jordan oversaw Baptist’s 2012 implementation of Epic, a phased rollout that involved Baptist’s then-14 hospitals and more than 450 Baptist Medical Group providers.

The Gold Stars program serves as a toolkit for helping health care providers offer more efficient care, focusing on specific items that can help ensure accurate, timely and safe care. The program also recognizes the use of features that help patients become more engaged in managing their own health care, such as Epic’s MyChart feature.

MyChart is a free app accessible via smartphone, tablet or computer that allows patients to schedule appointments, refill prescriptions, direct message their care providers, access lab results and much more.

– Andy Meek

Comcast Adds 500 Outdoor Wi-Fi Hotspots in Memphis

Comcast has installed 500 Xfinity Wi-Fi outdoor hotspots in popular areas throughout Memphis and plans to add more over the next few months. These outdoor units offer Comcast customers more widespread wireless access to the internet.

Comcast now has more than 55,000 total hotspots – indoor, outdoor and residential – in the Memphis area. Comcast has installed the outdoor online access points throughout Midtown, Downtown, Uptown, North Memphis, South Memphis; near parks such as Douglas, Hyde and Overton Parks; and outside of restaurants and shops in greater Memphis.

When in range of an Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspot, most Xfinity Internet customers can select “xfinitywifi” from the list of available networks on their laptops or mobile devices and enter their Comcast email and password. The Xfinity Wi-Fi app, available for download on both iOS and Android devices, makes it easy to locate business and outdoor hotspots, or customers can visit to search the hotspot finder map.

– Don Wade