JOHNSON CITY, Tenn.—Mountain States Health Alliance, which operates 12 hospitals in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia, will join Vanderbilt University Medical Center's network of affiliated hospitals. As part of the affiliation, the two organizations will collaborate on physician recruitment, clinical trials and medical research, share best practices in accountable care and evidence-based care models, and work directly with payers. “All of us want to remain independent,” said Clem Wilkes, Mountain State's board chairman. “It's a way that hospitals can continue to exist on their own, but benefit from the efficiencies and scope of services that another organization can provide.” Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a 909-bed academic medical center in Nashville, most recently signed an affiliation agreement in January with West Tennessee Healthcare, a public health system. “Our affiliation with Mountain States Health Alliance creates greater opportunity for both institutions to fulfill important objectives for those we serve, forming the framework for Vanderbilt to collaborate with like-minded colleagues to bring patients greater access to a diverse array of clinical and research initiatives,” Dr. C. Wright Pinson, deputy vice chancellor for health affairs at Vanderbilt University and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System, said in a news release. A governing board composed of equal representation for both organizations will be established. In addition, the affiliation does not have any financial terms. Pinson said later in an interview that the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network will likely include affiliations with out-of-state hospitals in the future. The network now has about 30 hospitals.