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access to resources and ideasacross the broad spectrum of care,and this consolidation would helpus achieve that goal with anexceptional national network,”Swedish said. “We are excitedabout the benefits our combinedorganizations will bring to peopleand communities nationwide.”
UnitedHealth,Nebraska 4-H EnterInto Alliance ToPromote HealthierEating
has entered into an alliance with theNebraska
to help adolescents
ndrising rates of obesity.The partnership, called Eat4-Health, will send out 4-H members as“youth ambassadors” to spread themessage of healthy living and eatingto other young Nebraskans.The program is beingadministered by the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Service
,which provides 4-H programs to all 93of Nebraska’s counties.UnitedHealth has launchedsimilar programs in Florida,Mississippi and Texas. It has presented$30,000 in seed money to start eachprogram, including the new one inNebraska.About one-third of the nation’steenagers are considered overweightor obese. According to data from the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control andPrevention
, about 28% of Nebraskansare at least overweight.“We are fortunate to be able to join with the young people of 4-H inthe Eat4-Health program to help makea difference in the lives of so manyfamilies in Nebraska,” said
, president of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Nebraska.
Ascension Health Forms A GPO
Part of a Trend Toward Hospital-Based Suppliers
Ascension Health Alliance
has become one of the most recent providerorganizations to create its own grouppurchasing organization. Though providersstill hold a small share of the GPO market,consolidation in general may be the directionthe industry is heading.
Resource and Supply ManagementGroup
, the supply-chain operation forAscension’s wholly-owned subsidiary, willoffer the service. The GPO will provideservices to Health Ministries of Ascension aswell as other health systems.The purpose of a GPO is to use purchasevolume and commitment of sales to negotiatediscounts from manufacturers, distributorsand other vendors. Membership in a GPO isvoluntary, but most hospitals participate in atleast one.
, president of the
HealthIndustry Group Purchasing Association
, saidthat most hospitals belong to two to fourGPOs on average and many still negotiate“off contract” with suppliers. Rooney saidGPOs yield savings of approximately $36 to$38 billion annually.Rooney said GPOs also provide a host of other services like custom contracting,clinical evaluation and standardization,technology assessment, data benchmarkingand market research.GPOs make money by charging vendorsan administrative fee. Some also chargehospitals a participation fee and/oradministrative fees that are placed into anaccount each time they purchase through acontract. Once administrative costs arecovered, what remains in the account isreturned to the providers.“As participants of the GPO, theministries of Ascension Health will seeimmediate bene
ts such as lower costs onpurchased services, capital and professionalservices,” said
Robert J. Henkel
, presidentand CEO of Ascension Health, said in aprepared statement. “Longer term, the GPOdemonstrates our commitment to transformhealthcare by 2020.”Hospital-owned GPOs have begunpopping up around the country, said
, senior vice president of strategicservices at
, an Irving, Texas-baseGPO that provides services to more than65,000 members including
This is likelyhappening because they want more directcontrol over their purchasing activity, he said.National organizations like Novation havevoluntary participation in their contracts. Toattract hospitals to the contracts, they have toprovide the greatest value. They are able to dothis because of the sheer volume of participants, McComber said.Hospital-owned GPOs are able to gleansavings by making a commitment to asupplier. Their volume may be smaller, butthey are able to commit to a supplier that thegroup will use their products or services, hesaid.“I think it will happen here and there, butI don’t think it will be a mass movement,”McComber said of hospital-owned GPOs.He added that hospitals would have toseriously look at the costs of creating a GPO.They will often
nd that it’s more economicalto take part in a national one instead of creating their own infrastructure.But he does contend that there is a strongmovement for consolidation in the industry asa result of the Affordable Care Act.In the past
ve years or so, he said he hasseen local systems work together, even withina national GPO, to negotiate deals. Theseregional supply networks might work togetherto standardize some of their supplies, then goto their GPO and request they negotiatecontracts for that group.
– TAMMY WORTH
Contexo Media is an independent provider of revenue-enhancing solutions for medical practices to maximize their coding, reimbursement and compliance efforts. Thousands of health careprofessionals rely on Contexo Media’s coding books, software, eLearning and educational workshops to stay on top of critical updates across the fast-changing medical landscape.