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Nashville is nicknamed Music City for good reason. Step into any bar downtown and see for yourself. Talent is everywhere. But music isn’t the only industry that puts Nashville on the map. In fact, healthcare is the city’s largest and fastest-growing industry, yet the two worlds rarely collide. The language of art and the language of medicine often appear incongruous, but the local non-profit Music Health Alliance is working to bridge the gap.

Founded in 2013, Music Health Alliance’s mission is to “Heal the Music.” MHA seeks to improve music professionals’ access to care by providing a range of healthcare and financial services. When medical bills constitute the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States and 76% of music professionals lack insurance coverage, being a patient can be a frightening and debilitating experience for musicians. From writing grants on behalf of patients to negotiating medical bills to providing premium assistance to connecting music professionals to community resources, MHA stops at nothing to secure solutions for its clients.

In a recent conversation with Health:Further, Founder and Executive Director Tatum Allsep spoke candidly about the problems MHA tackles and her own experience as a patient. Allsep worked in the music industry for years and believed her insurance plan would support her pregnancy and delivery of twin boys. Allsep ultimately spent six weeks in the hospital while her premature sons spent nine. Despite having coverage, Allsep received a $500,000 hospital bill upon discharge, and she quickly learned that she wasn’t alone. It was out of her own crisis that the idea of an objective and patient-centric non-profit dedicated to members of her industry was born.

Allsep’s story is powerful, as are those of her clients, and the MHA vision means that each story is one of healing. In the last four years, the MHA has secured $16 million in healthcare cost savings for over 5600 music professionals, but the team hopes there won’t always be this need. Consumers are already becoming more knowledgeable about the healthcare industry as they begin to take health into their own hands. MHA’s goal is to support this trend by shifting away from crisis management toward health, wellness, and prevention.

Everyone is a patient at some point, yet health extends far beyond the hospital. In Allsep’s opinion, removing barriers to care while promoting wellness starts with communication…come back on Thursday for more on Tatum, and an exciting announcement.

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