Brentwood startup Interstate Health Systems has announced its launch after the close of its pre-seed funding round. Former LifePoint executive Jeff Seraphine will serve as CEO.

The company plans to build 60 urgent care clinics near truck stops and travel centers in the next two years, which will also serve medically underserved and rural areas, according to a press release. The services will include telemedicine and prescription services.  

“Our nation’s economy and the basic human needs of more than 300 million Americans depend on professional truck drivers who historically have had no access to traditional clinic locations while on the road, forcing them to delay the care they need,” Seraphine said. “IHS offers an innovative solution to our health care delivery system that will support the primary care and urgent care needs of a vital and underserved group, while also better supporting rural communities and interstate travelers.”

Health equity nonprofit eyes Nashville primary care market 

A Phoenix-based nonprofit, Equality Health, has named Nashville as an area of focus. The company helps independent primary care practices convert to value-based care through joining their network.   

Equality Health focuses on health equity, especially in culturally diverse and underserved communities, according to a press release. The company is now in Arizona, Texas (where it has 168 practices) and Tennessee. 

"As we drive the industry toward value-based care, we view primary care practices as the engine of change, as many times they are the first touchpoint for patients on their care journey,” said Hugh Lytle, founder and CEO. “We want to support primary care practices, especially those located in underserved communities, and help them flourish across the nation, as they preserve access to quality care for all. We look forward to partnering with practices in Nashville and expanding across the state in the future."

Lytle was also a co-founder of Axia Health Management, which later became Tivity Health. The Franklin-based company went private earlier this year

VUMC finds first link to appendiceal cancer and heredity

A Vanderbilt University Medical Center-led research team recently published a study that is touted as the first to show inherited risk factors for appendiceal cancer. The cancer is rare  – affecting one or two people per million – but had previously not been thought to be hereditary, according to a press release. 

In 131 patients with appendiceal cancer, 11.5 percent had at least one genetic variant in a cancer susceptibility gene. 

“Based on these data, we are able to recommend genetic counseling and multigene panel testing of cancer susceptibility genes for all appendix cancer patients, regardless of age or family history of cancer,” said Andreana Holowatyj, assistant professor of medicine and cancer biology at VUMC. “While there is still much to learn from our discovery, we have found the tip of an iceberg — potentially a really big iceberg.”