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GPOs – Valued Partners in Healthcare
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The healthcare group purchasing organization (GPO) members of HSCA work closely with their provider partners across the continuum of care to reduce cost, add value, and improve outcomes for patients. Below you'll find some narratives that help to demonstrate why GPOs are valued partners in healthcare.


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Bon Secours Health System Reduces Surgical Site Infections by 35% in 3 Months; Annualized Savings Top $655,000

Posted By HSCA, Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Collaborative Approach Enables Facility-Level Teams to Drive Change Across Four States

To ensure ‘Good Help to Those in Need’, Bon Secours Health System, Inc. (BSHSI) employs a quality improvement governance structure known as Clinical Transformation (CT) to provide oversight on processes and practices that impact patient experience, healthcare efficiency and patient safety.  Concerned about hospital-acquired infections, BSHSI’s CT leaders partnered with Premier’s Clinical Performance Partner (CPP) Program to structure and implement an initiative focused on reducing surgical site infections (SSIs).

With the guidance of Premier’s resources – and following Premier’s proven performance improvement methodology – BSHSI implemented a system wide, rapid-cycle change project to ensure compliance to foundational practice to include surgical attire, surgical hand scrubs, surgical site preparation and traffic patterns.

Validation Studies Point to Clinical Practice Variations

Using Premier’s “Opportunity to Action” blueprint – which combines the power of Premier’s analytics, national benchmarking capabilities and an evidenced-based approach to healthcare improvement – the CPP Program team launched a validation study to diagnose variation in practices within the health system’s 12 hospitals that participated in the initiative.

The validation study, a key component in assuring highly reliable patient care, revealed common opportunities to standardize clinical practice, policy and procedures and adherence to manufacture instructions for product use.

The BSHSI 30-60-90 Day Collaborative for Reducing Clinical Practice Variation

Armed with more relevant data, Premier worked with an integrated improvement team of care providers and ancillary services to implement system wide changes to reduce variations in practice. Partnering with local teams of infection control practitioners, medical staff and front line surgical services team members,the CPPs rapid-cycle change process incorporated onsite assistance, coaching calls and monthly collaborative calls to revise policy and procedures and implement process changes across the health system.

Premier is Here to Help

Premier supports healthcare providers in providing high-quality, cost-effective services to their communities. Paired with quality and safety technology products, a clinical performance partner acts as a change agent by providing a structured framework to improve outcomes while positively impacting cost of care.

Tags:  Premier  Savings 

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New Lighting Improves Safety, Reduces Costs

Posted By HSCA, Thursday, January 14, 2016


As an award-winning Level 1 trauma center, Presence Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston, IL, encourages family involvement in the healing process. Its 24/7 open visitation policy drives a steady flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic into its parking garage. However, inadequate lighting that resulted in limited visibility in many areas made the environment seem unsafe to visitors and staff. A new lighting solution was needed.

The garage originally had yellow high-pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures, said Joe Stark, regional director, support services for Presence Saint Francis and Saint Joseph hospitals. “The yellow light did not give a sense of safety and security to people. I’m a huge advocate of bright, daylight-like light and the sense of security it gives to people,” he said.

The HPS fixtures also required expensive, ongoing maintenance to replace bulbs and ballasts as well as electricians’ time and that of another person to monitor garage traffic while electricians did their work.


Stark challenged Grainger, a Premier, Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC) contracted supplier, to help him find the best lighting solution for the garage. Working with a Grainger healthcare account manager, Stark evaluated lighting options. He looked initially at retrofitting existing fixtures with an LED lamp. But he was disappointed with the look of the fixtures and the quality of the light.

“Nothing looked good until we put in the sample Cree® VG Series parking structure and Cree Edge™ area LED luminaries,” Stark said. “The light output, the fixture itself, the different coloration of the lumens – it was completely different, from yellow to white. As the replacement happened level by level, you could clearly see that Cree had the right fixture for the right application.”


The new optimal light quality resulted in a greater sense of security for visitors and hospital staff while significantly reducing operating and maintenance costs.

Stark heard right away from the Saint Francis security manager who noted that security camera output was clearer. The white light made it possible to read license plate numbers and see other details easier.

Staff noted the improved visibility. The Presence Network News, the corporate newsletter, did a story on the garage lighting. “They interviewed one of the hospital employees who indicated she felt much safer with the new lighting as she walked from her car during second and third shifts. A sense of security in the parking garage is very important to the hospital employees and to me. I want our staff and visitors to feel safe when they come here.”

The Cree VG Series parking structure and Cree Edge area LED luminaires not only provide optimal light quality, instilling a greater sense of security to hospital staff and visitors, but reduce operating costs and deliver energy savings.

Lighting maintenance has gone from ongoing to minimal, freeing maintenance staff for other projects. “Before the lighting change, maintenance crews were changing out lamps or ballasts at least every other week. Now with Cree, we haven’t been in the garage since,” Stark said.

A multi-level sensor chosen by Presence Saint Francis Hospital automatically lowers output from 100 percent to 25 percent after seven minutes of detecting no vehicle or pedestrian movement. That qualified the project for a large rebate from ComEd, the local electric utility.

Tags:  Cost  Illinois  Premier  Safety/Quality 

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Savings Top $1.5M in Year One With Premier

Posted By HSCA, Thursday, January 14, 2016


When Jimmy Robertson joined Bothwell Regional Health Center in April 2013 as chief financial officer, the 145-bed Sedalia, MO, hospital had experienced four straight years of operating losses. The stand-alone, city-chartered facility was struggling. It needed significant cost savings.

“We were losing millions,” Robertson said. “We made money one year but only because of meaningful use dollars. If you can’t make it from operations, you’re not going to be in the game long.”

Robertson’s charge: Find out what needed to be done to ensure the hospital remained financially viable. A task force helped lead the effort.

Robertson realized early on that Bothwell was spending a lot for supplies. There was an established relationship with Amerinet, the primary GPO. “But I felt we really should open it up to bids,” he said. Premier, Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC), Novation, MedAssets and Amerinet were invited to do market baskets. “We found we were paying way too much for a lot of the things we were purchasing,” the CFO said.


Bothwell chose to join Premier as an affiliate of SSM Health in St. Louis, which also is a part of CCG, a purchasing collaborative within Premier with more than $3 billion in Premier contract purchasing volume.

What impressed me the most,” Robertson said, “is that Premier wanted to partner with us, not just for us to join the GPO under the wing of SSM. I felt Premier wanted to come in here, be our partner and help us improve. That sold me. It means a lot to me as a stand-alone organization.

“I didn’t have a system to rely on,” Robertson continued. “With Premier, I now have a region director, all the other folks at Premier as well as all the folks at SSM. They’re our partners. They want us to be successful.”


At thetime of the conversion to Premier, first-year savings projections were about $875,000. “We’re well over that. It’s getting close to $1.5 million in savings,” Robertson said. “Through Premier and SSM Health coming in and scouring through what we buy and working with us on how to make changes, we’ve saved more than $600,000 above that. I have a valuable partner and they’re doing great work. It’s amazing. I couldn’t be happier with what Premier and SSM have been able to do for us.

When Bothwell closed its books in 2014, the net operating loss was $4.6 million on net revenue of $90 million, a negative operating margin of 5.16 percent. Through 11 months of 2015, net positive operating revenue is $4.5 million or a 5.06 percent operating margin on net revenue of $89 million.

“April to April, we’re $9.2 million ahead, about a 10 percent turn. There are lots of reasons behind that,” he said. “It’s not all due to Premier/SSM Health. But $1.6 million of that $9.2 million (more than 17 percent) is because of the work Premier and SSM Health have done.”

Robertson expects savings to continue to grow. The organization will continue to drive savings by using Premier/SSM agreements. Bothwell expects about $400,000 in savings already identified on capital purchases next year.

He expects additional savings by enhancing resource utilization efforts using benchmarking data from PremierConnect® Quality (QualityAdvisor™). Bothwell is reviewing other Premier solutions and services as well.

Tags:  Cost  Missouri  Premier 

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Labor Solution Helps TX Hospital Save $500K a Month

Posted By HSCA, Thursday, January 14, 2016


“It’s a fast-paced, quick-change environment,” said Charles N. Rivera, director, financial operations at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (DHR). The large hospital was using an ineffective home-grown tool to help manage labor. “We needed a tool to ensure that we were getting relevant data in front of our department heads so they didn’t lose sight of key metrics as the hospital was going through a growth mode.”


DHR joined the Premier, Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC) GPO in September 2012 as an affiliate of SSM Health in St Louis. In short order, the organization quickly signed up for most other services and solutions that Premier offers. DHR began using the PremierConnect® Operations (OperationsAdvisor®) solution in September 2014.

“We went from not knowing much at all about Premier to having just about everything Premier offers,” Rivera said.

But it was a slow process in the beginning as the labor solution was installed and staff were introduced, trained and got comfortable using it, Rivera recalled. DHR began with a biweekly reporting model but found that the data was three weeks old before it got into department managers’ hands. “It was useful for identifying trends but not so useful in day-to-day labor management,” he said.

“We really started gaining traction and making significant productivity improvement when we adopted daily productivity reporting,” Rivera said. “That was the absolute key to having OperationsAdvisor work for our directors.”

The rollout of daily reporting began in mid-January with a handful of departments including two that were “struggling in a major way.” The process went so well that within two months all 110 departments were using daily productivity reporting. “It’s made all the difference,” he noted.


In the past five months, savings have averaged about $500,000 a month. That was the goal. “Going forward, we want to sustain it,” Rivera said. And soon there will be 12 months of data, which will be helpful in setting targets and benchmarking during budgeting.

The home-grown Excel-based system was not well-understood and there was little buy-in from managers. “It was just another report from accounting that usually ended up in the delete box,” Rivera said.

“We now have a system they see as value-added,” he continued. “They were brought in at the beginning and have bought in over time. They are being held accountable too. They see my team adding value in a consultative role to help ensure they meet their productivity goals and stay off the list for improvement. That’s a great motivator.”

In addition to the daily productivity reports from PremierConnect Operations, Rivera and his team also provide managers with census reports every four hours. “That made the point that staffing is an ongoing process,” he said. “Light bulbs went off. Productivity changed after those reports started to go out. They started to manage to census. Productivity started to creep back up.”

The high level data provided throughout the day helps them make changes “on the fly” that they can see the next day in productivity reports, he explained. Rivera cited other dividends. Patient throughput has increased, especially in areas where procedures are performed and productivity is tied to volume. It has not only helped improve labor management but also helped increase revenue because managers pay closer attention to charge entry.

“There are no buy-in issues now. Most comments today are positive. They see it as a tool in their toolbox to help them manage their departments,” Rivera said. “Yes, we’ve done well over the past 12 months. We’ll celebrate the good job by everyone, then we’ll begin to focus on the next 12 months.”

*     *     *

Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg, TX, is a 530-bed physician-owned health system that offers some of the most comprehensive medical care on the U.S. southern border. Founded in 1997, DHR has plans to add 300 beds and significantly expand services including graduate medical education. The service area includes more than 1.3 million residents. Services include a full continuum of care in more than 70 different sub-specialties.

Tags:  Cost  Premier  Texas 

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IDN saves $1M+ through new PBM relationship

Posted By HSCA, Tuesday, September 15, 2015


In any business today, managing pharmacy benefits effectively is a growing concern. Drug costs continue to climb. Expensive specialty drug use and rapidly escalating costs are especially alarming.

“Pharmacy benefits can quickly throw you off balance cost-wise,” said Teena Senicka, Manager, Total Rewards, Riverside Health System in Newport News, VA. “It’s a red flag area of concern.”

In the third quarter of 2013, Riverside began a review of its Pharmacy Benefits Management (PBM) relationship. “We wanted a more innovative approach,” Senicka said. “We needed to look for new ways to drive savings. We wanted a partner to help us develop a custom solution, to take better advantage of our own health system’s resources.”


An engaged member of Premier, Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC) and winner of the 2015 Norling Award, the health care alliance’s highest member recognition, Riverside turned to Premier. The two partnered in the first quarter of 2014 to launch a program that used Riverside’s resources in combination with Premier’s PBM program administered by MedImpact.

For employees who use the system’s retail pharmacy, there is no copay or it’s reduced. Riverside even developed an app employees can use to order refills via their smart phones. All they need to do is pick up the prescriptions from the in-house pharmacy.

The PBM benefit is woven into employee benefits. For instance, the My Healthy Lifestyle Wellness Program in 2016 will offer new incentives for employees who use the diabetes education program or professional coaching for such chronic conditions as asthma, coronary artery disease and heart failure.

The year-old diabetes program has been a success, Senicka said. Among other things, to promote compliance among employees and dependents, diabetes drugs and supplies in generic and brand categories do not have copays and non-formulary drug prices are significantly reduced. Riverside’s emphasis is on making resources available to help employees or dependents manage diabetes by removing cost barriers.


In 2014, year one of the PBM relationship with Premier, Riverside saved more than $1 million – 14 percent of plan drug costs.

“Results have exceeded our expectations,” said Senicka. “Premier is a flexible partner. When we see opportunities, Premier either has a program we can use or will work with us to develop a custom solution. Premier’s innovation and flexibility has produced very tangible results.”

Tags:  Cost  Pharmacy  Premier  Virginia 

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