GPO Standout – Amerinet

How compliant are your members to your contracts? How do you measure this? And what are your goals in this regard?
Amerinet members consistently meet their contract obligations each year. Their success is reflected in the 2007 fiscal report. For example, last year, Amerinet members saved $335 million on $6.5 billion in purchases and received $39 million in return by meeting their contract requirements. Our members’ success is a direct result of Amerinet’s team of clinical, pharmacy, medical/surgical, materials and contract specialists who work closely with members to ensure they understand the contracts, requirements for participation, as well as specific requirements necessary to access tiers and rebates. This team of highly trained supply chain professionals utilizes Amerinet’s Savings Roadmap(sm) to ensure members reach their compliance goals….

Can you describe Amerinet’s approach to capital equipment contracting (e.g., reverse auctions, group buys, etc)?
Amerinet’s capital equipment program consists of a wide range of contracts with market-leading manufacturers, combined with a dedicated and specialized sales force specific to capital equipment and construction. The Amerinet BudgetMatch(sm) program is a unique service where members submit their capital equipment budgets online for review and assignment to Amerinet capital equipment contracts. Additional services available include benchmarking, quote review and e-procurement services. Each quarter, Amerinet offers its members special time-sensitive promotions or TargetBuys for many types of clinical and non-clinical capital equipment purchases.

Does Amerinet engage in reverse auctions for non-capital items? If so, to what extent?
We have found reverse auctioning valuable in specific instances in conjunction with IDN-specific contracting strategies.

Can you describe Amerinet’s activities in the following areas:

  • Environmentally responsible purchasing. Amerinet’s Environmentally Preferred Purchasing program provides members with a comprehensive portfolio of environmentally friendly products and service contracts. In 2007, Amerinet increased its environmentally friendly contract portfolio offerings by more than 90 percent. As an H2E (Hospitals for a Healthy Environment) Champion for Change award winner in 2006 and 2007, Amerinet is committed to helping healthcare providers reach their goal of providing high quality patient care while protecting the environment by: 1) improving environmental education and performance through information, 2) providing products and services aligned with H2E’s national goals, and 3) building partnerships and employing a contracting strategy that encourages and influences manufacturers to provide products that are safer for the environment. Amerinet sponsors…the Hospitals for a Healthy Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program….
  • Support of minority/historically underutilized businesses. Amerinet’s Supplier Diversity Program (Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) is the cornerstone of economic development….Amerinet fosters business with HUBs where it supports and reflects the needs of the membership, and has worked toward connecting our membership with minority-owned and women-owned businesses since 2003. Acting on our belief, the Amerinet Supplier Diversity Program is a resource connecting Amerinet members with HUBs, and HUBs with other Amerinet trading partners. Amerinet practices contracting that is competitive, fair, and encourages participation by qualified HUBs. Today, our Supplier Diversity Program offers the Amerinet membership 30 first-tier diversity suppliers and 61 suppliers using second-tier diversity suppliers.
  • Making your members aware of – and contracting for – innovative medical technology. Amerinet provides its members with access to a competitive portfolio of product and service contracts that include appropriate niche and new/emerging technology companies. We also provide opportunities through our RFP and vendor-credentialing program for all interested niche and new/emerging technology companies to work with Amerinet and its members.

Does Amerinet provide outsourced services to your members (that is, services provided by your organization, not by contract vendors)? If so, can you describe them?
[Offerings include]:

  • Amerinet Clinical Advantage® Program: Focused on assisting members address expenses in the physician preference area…
  • DiagnostixTM: Suite of business intelligence solutions.
  • AccuPrice: Software tool that combines master file maintenance, daily price audits and staff resources to identify and resolve pricing errors….
  • Decision Dashboard, powered by Craneware: Performance trending tool….
  • Amerinet Savings Roadmap: Excel tool that…allows decision-makers to analyze and review total spend by 1) contracts and tier commitment requirements, 2) total spend per contract, 3) current vs. Amerinet costs, 4) savings opportunity, 5) standardization status and 6) product category.
  • DataBay Resources® division: Provides information to conduct data analysis for medical staff and strategic planning.
  • Inquisit: Educational seminars and workshops accessible in a variety of ways.

Does Amerinet provide onsite consulting to your members (that is, consulting provided directly by your organization, not by a contract vendor/consulting firm)? If so, can you describe these activities?
Through a full suite of consulting services, Amerinet members can identify savings opportunities, prioritize savings initiatives, and educate staff in value analysis techniques. To find out how their facilities measure up in supply chain management, healthcare executives utilize the supply chain assessment. This tool benchmarks performance in six key areas: systems, such as the MMIS and automated supply replenishment systems; electronic data management; pricing and contract administration; use of value analysis tools and techniques; standardization and utilization activities; and national supply cost metrics and benchmarks.

Does Amerinet provide members with access to an electronic exchange, allowing members to order products electronically, check order status, check pricing accuracy, etc? If so, what is it called, and what are its capabilities?
Members access electronic exchanges for EDI and data cleansing through the Amerinet contracted partner. This market-leading service provides EDI, fax automation, contract management, and requisitioning services, as well as data cleansing through the use of their all source product catalog.

Can you describe the role of member advisory boards in your contracting process?
Amerinet member input plays a critical role in discovering the needs and problems our members face. We use several different member forums and standing input boards for gathering member requirements and input for use in the Amerinet contracting initiatives. These include members from Amerinet’s largest IDNs as well as stand-alone hospitals, surgery centers and other non-acute care representatives. In addition, groups that are specific to the various clinical specialties — such as pharmacy, lab, food service and materials management — are convened at intervals to obtain member review and suggestions regarding contract development and selection.

To what extent does Amerinet assist members in local or regional contracting?
Customized Amerinet Options? agreements are the result of a collaborative effort between the Amerinet contract staff and the healthcare provider….Jointly developed contracting strategies, specifications, and terms and conditions will be managed through an evaluation process….Contracts can be developed either as a formal competitive bid process or a focused negotiation with a supplier selected by the healthcare provider. Amerinet’s experience in contracting, augmented by previous Amerinet Options contracting activities on behalf of other Amerinet members, has resulted in more than 200 unique Amerinet Options agreements, representing over $158 million of purchases, negotiated and managed by Amerinet on behalf of our affiliate, network and alliance members.

Does Amerinet help members benchmark their clinical performance? If so, can you explain how?
Amerinet’s benchmarking solutions assist health care providers optimize operational effectiveness by providing comparative analysis in the area of supply chain and medical implant devices:

  • Amerinet Clinical Advantage Program. Benchmarks unit supply prices for implantable products….Additional in-depth analysis is provided as part of the full Clinical Advantage consulting program.
  • Decision Dashboard, powered by Craneware, [helps] providers reduce supply expense, maximize contracts, and better manage operational processes to reach strategic goals.
  • Supply chain benchmarking. Provides high level, nationally documented benchmarks and key performance indicators on supply chain items, as well as capital equipment and energy expenses.

Does Amerinet help members benchmark their operational performance? If so, can you explain how?
Amerinet provides several levels of operational benchmarking support to members:

Members have free online access through our member resources website to high level benchmarks covering a wide range of supply chain, operational and financial key performance indicators.
Subscription access to profitability software, providing flexible benchmarking data on cost, reimbursement, and profitability by department, service line, or DRG.
Amerinet’s new DataBay Resources® division provides healthcare decision makers with critical information to conduct data analysis for medical staff and strategic planning.
Additional peer comparative, drill-down indicators and reporting will be available to Amerinet members later this year on a subscription basis.

Does Amerinet offer information systems or reports to help members analyze and improve their supply chain performance (e.g., spending, contract utilization, product utilization)? If so, can you describe them?
Amerinet offers a variety of reporting capabilities to support members’ analytical needs:

  • Amerinet’s online member resources website provides…information on contract utilization, individual products and other key information. Flexible reports can be produced depending on specific needs.
  • [Members have] the opportunity to complete a detailed Savings Roadmap…a dynamic tool to evaluate and implement contracting opportunities.
  • Decision Dashboard tool integrates data from various sources to provide real time tracking of performance. The tool allows members complete flexibility in the creation of dashboard and trending reports specific to their facility….
  • AccuPrice tool provides daily price auditing capability, currently focused on pharmacy and laboratory products.

Does Amerinet offer members resources to help them:

  • Control the cost or usage of physician-preference items? The Amerinet Clinical Advantage Program is one of Amerinet’s premier Total Spend Management solutions. This program focuses on assisting members address expenses in the physician preference area. A dedicated team of clinical staff assists members in evaluating their current expenditures and strategies in the physician preference area. Assessment services are provided free of charge, and additional services which result in a more in depth analysis and implementation of contract alternatives are available on a fee-for-service basis. The Clinical Advantage Program provides experienced clinical staff to work with executives, physicians, clinicians and department staff to implement savings in high cost implants and other physician preference areas….
  • Control spending on labor? A variety of programs to control labor expenses are offered through the Amerinet’s Executive Resources portfolio, including: 1) allied health care temporary and permanent staffing, 2) executive search consulting, 3) interim placement of healthcare managers, 4) nurse recruitment, 5) recruitment and permanent placement for physicians, pharmacists and nursing, and 6) pre-employment and compliance screening
  • Create and manage a vendor-credentialing process? Amerinet has contracted with Vendormate for vendor credentialing and compliance monitoring. Through its patent-pending Vendormate VISIONTM service, Vendormate delivers supplier registration, screening, rating, cataloging and physical access control, and is uniquely suited to satisfy both internal policies and government mandates including HIPAA, Stark law and Sarbanes-Oxley. Amerinet members receive a discount off Vendormate list prices for implementation of the Vendormate VISION application.

Can you describe the educational opportunities (meetings, conferences, Webinars, on-line training) you offer your members?
A one-stop shop, Inquisit offers continuing education, learning-on-demand programs and customized education services any time day or night for time-conscious healthcare professionals. With programs for more than 30 healthcare-related professions, addressing both continuing education units and continuing medical education credits, Inquisit provides healthcare professionals with a valuable resource to meet the educational demands of the healthcare industry. Delivery options range from audio conferences and web casts to on-demand web services and on-site sessions. The on-site courses can be customized and held at individual companies. Topics include employee retention and supervision, team building, change management, communication and listening skills, and negotiation.

Has Amerinet’s mission changed over the past five years? If so, how?
In 2007, Amerinet adopted a new mission and vision to focus on strategic solutions that enhance how healthcare providers deliver patient care. It states that “Amerinet will make a positive difference in the delivery of high quality healthcare by helping providers effectively manage their total spend.” As a result, Amerinet has implemented a competitive menu of Total Spend Management solutions and high-level, customer-focused services….These strategies will bring greater value to our members by improving supply chain efficiencies and addressing quality and safety issues. The new business model also provides the flexibility to invest in new technologies, acquire additional resources and partner with new suppliers to strengthen our competitive portfolio….

Finally, how does Amerinet differ from others in the market?
Amerinet’s advantage is its ability to bring additional value to our members beyond traditional GPO services. We have created a new total spend management business model and offer services beyond contracting. Those services include revenue cycle management, decision support, supply chain consulting services and a wide range of spend analytic solutions. We know from listening to our customers that data management, including data integrity and price accuracy, is important. That’s why we enhanced our Amerinet Clinical Advantage program and Diagnostix, as well as acquired DataBay Resources® and Inquisit. We have also deployed clinical specialists in the field to work directly with our members. And, we have strengthened our affiliate partnerships and created regional member alliances to aggregate their spend to maximize savings opportunities. Amerinet is a GPO committed to its members by making it simple for them to manage their total spend, from supply chain to clinical and operational needs.