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Happy Holidays! 2017 has been an exciting year for the Patton family. Both Ashley and Evan are now New Yorkers, living a few blocks from each other and thriving on the excitement of life in the big city. Mary had hip replacement surgery and has recovered remarkably well. Like most, I put in long hours this year, which is a labor of love and privilege, to lead what I consider to be the best oncology practice in the country.

It was a year of remarkable change at Tennessee Oncology. Our EMR (electronic medical records) change to OncoEMR was one of the largest conversions to date, in the community oncology setting. While not without challenges and many hours of hard work, it was a more efficient process than most would expect. With this new technology platform, we remain best-positioned to lead in innovation and continue to deliver the best care to patients throughout the middle and east Tennessee regions.

2017 also marked our first full year of participation in the Oncology Care Model (OCM), the CMS value-based payment initiative. Many practice-wide initiatives have transpired, as part of OCM collaboration and reporting requirements. I am happy to report that both emergency room visits and hospitalization rates have declined. Not only are these two of the prime objectives for the pilot, but also each greatly enhances patient experience and lowers total cost of care.

In addition to these two impressive accomplishments, Tennessee Oncology provided care to more patients in 2017, than any previous year. My thanks and gratitude to each and every one of you, for your dedication and contribution to our patients and our practice.

The Christmas Holiday is truly one of the most wonderful times of the year, regardless of your religious beliefs. For Christians it’s an inspiring and spirit-filled season, rich in childhood memories, and time to share, revive and renew faith. For non-Christians it can be a magical season to pause, celebrate and enjoy family, children and friends.

As 2017 draws to a close, in this wonderful holiday season, I hope we can all respect our differences, join together and celebrate our commonalities as opposed to the partisan noise broadcast in the media every day. In 2018, may love of family, friends and common purposes bring us together as a nation, as we work to solve problems and create love and hope in our lives.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a magnificent New Year,