On the Horizon
The Federation of American Hospitals’ annual Public Policy Conference and Business Exposition has been the place for national account executives to network with group purchasing executives since the early 1980s, says Dennis Daar, managing partner of Medical Strategies International, LLC and the 2013-2014 chair of the FAH’s Exposition Advisory Committee. And the upcoming conference, to be held next March in Washington, D.C., will be no exception.
Over the years, the meeting has grown from a supplier-booth trade show to its current format featuring service centers manned by representatives of GPOs, IDNs and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, explains Daar. This evolution began in the early 1990s, when the FAH Exposition Advisory Committee decided to invite representatives from all GPOs to participate on the committee, and to eliminate supplier booths and promotional items in order to offer parity to all healthcare supplier companies in attendance. The result was a reverse trade show.
The decision to use service centers with private meeting rooms ensures that the GPO meeting is open to all companies, and the format helps curtail the expense of shipping products and associated trade show costs, says Doug Weigel, director of corporate accounts for Spacelabs Healthcare and immediate past chair of the FAH Exposition Committee.
“Being in D.C. affords us the flexibility to bring in the most relevant healthcare speakers,” points out FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn. “Also, attendees are accustomed to bringing their senior management to meet with both the GPO executives and their Congressional representatives on the Hill during the meeting.”
There are several reasons for attending the Federation conference, says Weigel. “First, there is the networking with over 225 executives from 35 GPOs, IDNs and the VA. Also, the educational workshops and plenary sessions highlight the leadership of our industry sharing useful information. This information is then used in the development of our strategic direction. In addition, best practices are shared by suppliers and providers during workshop sessions.”
“The conference offers an opportunity to understand the latest regarding industry trends and issues in healthcare, networking with hospital executives and peers, and the chance to gain knowledge through a myriad of educational sessions,” adds Todd Ebert, president and CEO, Amerinet. It also offers a valuable opportunity to connect with current and potential supplier partners, he says.
The FAH conference “is a great opportunity for suppliers to spend quality time with the respective GPOs, to identify further areas of collaboration, and to drive value for our mutual customers,” says Ed Jones, president of HealthTrust Purchasing Group and a long-time FAH Exposition Advisory Committee member. “In addition, we can identify new supplier opportunities … and establish next steps with current and potential suppliers, which creates momentum toward specific initiatives once the meeting concludes.”
“From a supplier’s point of view, it would take me a good two months of traveling and more than $12,000 in related travel costs for the networking and contacts made over the three days of the FAH meeting,” says Weigel.
“GPO and IDN executives easily can conduct more than 100 short, to-the-point meetings at the FAH’s annual meeting,” adds Daar. “The reverse business exposition, private business meeting time, and networking opportunities provide a mutually beneficial opportunity to make new contacts, move a relationship/project to the next level and to hear useful information.”
“I think some of the key highlights for me in 2013 will revolve around hearing from Capitol Hill regarding healthcare reform, particularly if there are any changes relative to the presidency or control of either the House or the Senate,” says Jones. Speaker presentations will give those in attendance an opportunity to better understand the macro environment of healthcare, the changes underway, future trends, and how GPOs and suppliers can assist providers navigating through a very challenging time in the history of healthcare, he adds.
The FAH’s 2013 Public Policy Conference and Business Exposition will take place March 3-5, 2013, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. For more information, call Bonnie Moneypenny at (501) 661-9555 or go to www.fah.org.