Editor’s Note June 2010

Changing with the Times

The healthcare system is changing, even before reform measures are being enacted. The Associated Press reported in May that Texas physicians are dropping Medicare patients with reimbursement cuts possibly on the horizon. Primary care physicians, and even specialists, are lining up to sell their practices to hospitals – who are creating subsidiaries to buy up local practices.

Specifically in our corner of the healthcare industry, these new sites will mean new challenges for the supply chain, mainly because the alternate care market is a much different beast than what healthcare executives deal with in the acute-care sector. “Untamed” is one word used to describe it in our feature article “Meet the Cousins.” There’s no one single model to getting alternate care sites to standardize. Kenny Wilson, senior vice president and general manager, ambulatory care, Cardinal Health, Dublin, Ohio says they’ve seen several models – from electronic ordering systems being put in, but IDN materials executives staying out of day-to-day management – to IDN contracting executives who not only implement materials management processes, but try to aggregate volume and seek uniform pricing across the IDN. And then there’s everything in between.

In other trends, we’ve made a push in our pages to cover Regional Purchasing Coalitions as more and more IDNs create and take advantage of them. In this issue, we profile the Amerinet Western Regional Alliance.

We’ve seen some changes in the publishing industry as well, with publications shifting to models where they can provide readers with more timely content. Beginning in January, we launched our digital issues every other month. And we’ve recently added Facebook (Search: The Journal of Healthcare Contracting) and Twitter (@ContractingNews) accounts to provide you portals into pertinent articles and opinions about our sector of healthcare.