Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Hospitals Look to Partnerships to Reduce Costs of Supplies

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Hospitals Look to Partnerships to Reduce Costs of Supplies

Article excerpt

Topeka hospitals are looking for savings on the supplies they use every day through broader partnerships.

Jan Ferdon, director of supply chain management at Stormont- Vail, said in a statement that the health system was one of the six first members of Mid-American Service Solutions, a purchasing group under Texas-based health company VHA that now includes about 120 Midwestern hospitals and health systems. MSS allows for contracts with larger groups, making it easier for hospitals to negotiate lower bulk rates and to consolidate services like distribution, reducing costs, Ferndon said.

"Stormont-Vail HealthCare is committed to delivering high quality care at an affordable cost. To do this, we will continue to seek the best value in the latest technology needed by our physicians at nationally competitive pricing through innovative partnerships such as the MSS and through efforts of the entire Stormont-Vail team to reduce waste and improve efficiencies," she said.

Jeff Andersen, president and CEO of Mid-America Service Solutions, said the member health systems spend about $4 billion on supplies annually, and roughly half of that goes through MSS contracts. The company vets suppliers as partners based on costs and the quality of their products, he said. They have about 230 contracts, which can be for one or more health care products, such as gloves, syringes and some medical devices.

In addition to securing bulk rates, MSS can help reduce costs by letting hospitals reduce how many suppliers they need to work with, Andersen said.

"If you go from five suppliers down to two or three, that's reduced inventory to manage," he said.

They also are trying a service called aptitude, also owned by VHA, which puts out bids for a particular medical product to suppliers, Andersen said. The goal isn't necessarily to find one winning bidder, but to give member hospitals quick access to suppliers whose products meet the hospitals needs, he said. …

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