Contracting News May/June 2009

Chuck Lauer to lead CEO discussion at Fall IDN Summit
Long-time publisher and healthcare leader Chuck Lauer will join Healthcare Business Media and IDN Summit as a consultant and speaker. Lauer, who elevated Modern Healthcare to one of the most respected healthcare journals in the industry, will moderate a keynote session with three of the nation’s leading healthcare system CEOs at the Fall 2009 IDN Summit & Expo to be held in Dallas, Texas, Sept. 23-25.

“There hasn’t been a more important time for CEOs to be engaged in the healthcare supply chain than now,” said Lauer. “Balancing the need to be technically advanced with the need to maintain solid financial footing means that leaders have to examine supply chain as an integral part of system strategy. What I want to accomplish at the IDN Summit, and beyond, is to get the right kind of dialogue going with the right people,” he concluded.

IDN Summit & Expo, which is hosted by Healthcare Business Media, is placing greater emphasis in its content on the strategic elements of supply chain. “Chuck Lauer gets it,” said, John Kelly, CEO. “Chuck has spent his career helping healthcare executives get the kind of information and perspective they need to move their organizations forward. The IDN Summit will be just another venue for him to apply his knowledge and experience.”

VHA cancels annual Leadership Conference
Irving, Texas-based VHA Inc. canceled its annual Leadership Conference, planned for May 17-20 in San Antonio, Texas, in response to the recent H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak. It is the first time the company has canceled the event. Because those that attend are leaders in their hospitals, the GPO said it did not want to take them away at a time when they might face an outbreak of a serious illness. Also, VHA respected the potential seriousness of H1N1 and wanted to be very cautious in bringing together a large group of hospital personnel.

GS1 US names Robert W. Carpenter as new CEO
The Board of Governors for GS1 US, Inc. (Lawrenceville, N.J.) elected Robert W. Carpenter as its new CEO. GS1 US, one of 108 country-based affiliates of GS1 (Brussels, BEL), a global standards organization, helps businesses adopt and implement standards-based, global supply-chain solutions. Its standards have been adopted in recent months by several major GPOs. Carpenter comes to GS1 US from ARAMARK Corp. (Philadelphia, Pa.), where he was senior vice president of business and strategic development for ARAMARK International, a $4 billion revenue division with locations in 22 countries.

IDNs join new U.S. Dept of Energy’s Hospital Energy Alliance
A new coalition for hospitals and health systems, called the Hospital Energy Alliance, was formed under the direction of the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) (Washington, D.C.) to promote the use of advanced energy efficiency and renewable technology in hospital design and construction.

Members of the energy coalition include Gundersen Lutheran Health System (La Crosse, Wis.), Catholic Healthcare West (San Francisco, Calif.), the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (Chicago, Ill.), HCA Inc. (Nashville, Tenn.), Kaiser Permanente (Oakland, Calif.), the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (Pittsburgh, Pa.) system and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Washington, D.C.).

The DoE in 2008 launched the EnergySmart Hospitals initiative, a plan focused on improving energy efficiency in existing hospitals by 20 percent, and improving energy efficiency by 30 percent in new construction. Gundersen Lutheran Health System began reduced energy use by 10 percent since it began an energy conservation program in early 2008, and plans to generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2014.

Cleveland Clinic CIO named to HHS’ HIT Standards Committee
Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland, Ohio) CIO C. Martin Harris, MD, MBA, was named to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (Washington, D.C.) Health Information Technology (HIT) Standards Committee. Harris will be one of 23 appointed experts to make recommendations to the National Coordinator on standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for the electronic exchange and use of health information. The committee’s first meeting took place May 15.

River West Medical Center closes
A federal bankruptcy judge found that River West Medical Center’s (Plaquemine, La.) financial problems are compromising patient safety and ordered the hospital to close. The hospital, which is owned by Shiloh Health Services Inc. (Louisville, Ky.), closed on May 15, 2009, and 90 employees lost their jobs. Two weeks ago, a group of doctors announced they had acquired River West’s physical facilities and planned to transform it into a locally owned, not-for-profit hospital. They were unable to find government funds to keep the hospital open.

American College of Radiology rebukes CMS’ decision to refuse CT colon coverage
The American College of Radiology (ACR) ( Reston , Va. ) gave a sharp response regarding CMS’ (Baltimore, Md. ) recent decision to refuse coverage for CT colon scans. ACR officials say the CT colonography test (CTC) is less invasive than traditional screening and has the potential to increase colon cancer screening rates among minorities and other groups that cannot afford private insurance coverage. Also, CTC screenings are covered by several private insurers. However, a recent CMS policy determined there was a lack of evidence to support the coverage of CTC colorectal cancer screening tests under the Social Security Act. Some reasons include an insufficient number of studies on CTC screening accuracy that includes Medicare-aged participants; and insufficient proof that the screening improves the health benefits for asymptomatic, average-risk Medicare beneficiaries.

Market Center Management Company plans international medical trade center
Market Center Management Company (Dallas, Texas), a management company of wholesale trade centers and trade events around the world, is moving ahead with the development of an international medical trade center in Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville Medical Trade Center could be as large as 1.5 million square feet and could open as early as 2010.

The company said it would be the only medical trade center in the U.S. to service the needs of the global medical community through three components: permanent manufacturer showrooms for healthcare product manufacturers, distributors and information technology companies; temporary trade show space; and conference facilities to accommodate a full schedule of medical trade events each year. Site selection is already underway in downtown Nashville.

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