GPO Standout – MedAssets Supply Chain Systems

How compliant are your members to MedAssets contracts? How do you measure this? And what are your goals in this regard?
MedAssets Supply Chain Systems provides a choice of suppliers to our customers. Our committed program and IDN relationships are focused on gaining maximum compliance so that customer gains maximum savings and suppliers gains maximum share. We believe that compliance to contracts is the reward for suppliers offering a compelling value proposition inclusive of products with the best clinical and economic outcomes. As part of our contracting process, RFPs are structured to allow bidding suppliers to offer contract structures for potential awards which incentivize our members to make commitments to finalized agreements which maximize appropriate value in return….While MedAssets Supply Chain Systems will not necessarily mandate particular compliance thresholds, our goal will be to assist our members in maximizing their individual contract compliance goals….

Can you describe MedAssets’ approach to capital equipment contracting (e.g., reverse auctions, group buys, etc)?
MedAssets Supply Chain offers customers the choice of participation in its Capital Equipment Program as a stand-alone program. MedAssets provides a program that identifies and aggregates our customers’ needs to establish an 18-month calendar, negotiate life cycle value, facilitate the quote and track purchases. An ongoing research process provides us the “voice of the customer” in identifying current needs. In addition to imaging modality group buy initiatives, we offer patient care categories such as anesthesia machines, patient monitors and laboratory equipment…. The MedAssets market penetration team is experienced at communicating the value of the group buy initiatives to decision makers. They also assure follow-up from the MedAssets field team, contracting team and suppliers. Negotiations include benchmark analysis and focus on total cost of ownership as opposed to acquisition cost. In our negotiations we strive for enhanced terms in freight, warranty, service, training and financing terms to name a few.

Does MedAssets engage in reverse auctions for non-capital items? If so, to what extent?

Can you describe MedAssets’ activities in the following areas:

  • Environmentally responsible purchasing. MedAssets Supply Chain Systems’ EPP Program was created to help our customers become better environmental stewards. This program identifies opportunities for pollution prevention, including mercury elimination, waste minimization, and toxicity reduction. It also provides products and services that support and encourage practice changes that protect the health of the community and the environment.
  • Support of minority/historically underutilized businesses. MedAssets Supply Chain Systems’ Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) program was formally implemented in early 2003. The program was designed to provide immediate and ongoing benefits to communities served by our members by providing greater opportunities for supplier diversity. The HUB program reflects our long heritage of meeting our customers’ needs while optimizing our historical practice of ensuring supplier diversity in our portfolio. The MedAssets HUB program and related policies and activities focus on the expanded utilization of minority and historically underutilized firms by our contractors and will strive to broaden the number of such firms included in our portfolio.
  • Making your members aware of – and contracting for – innovative medical technology. MedAssets Supply Chain Systems hosts an annual Technology Forum; 2008 will be its seventh year. The event supports the improvement of patient care by encouraging the development and availability of innovative products and new medical technology in the marketplace. The 2007 event focused on identifying emerging medical technology and also featured Green Row, a grouping of vendors showcasing environmentally friendly products. Prospective vendors were reviewed based on the following criteria: 1) technology innovation, 2)ability of product or service to improve patient care, 3) ability to promote efficiency in healthcare delivery, 4) degree to which it fulfills a need in the healthcare industry, and 5) likelihood of healthcare organizations to purchase.

Does MedAssets provide outsourced services to your members (that is, services provided by your organization, not by contract vendors)? If so, can you describe them?
MedAssets provides interim outsourced management services, which entail the complete operational management of a healthcare provider’s supply chain.

Does MedAssets 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?
MedAssets provides assistance ranging from a focus on a specific area of improvement to interim management of a facility’s supply chain. Services include:

  • Value analysis optimization.
  • Supply chain operations optimization (purchasing management, contract management, inventory management).
  • Supply chain technology improvement.
  • Supply chain transformation.
  • Purchased services expense reduction.
  • Reduce spend on high-impact pharmaceuticals.
  • Interim management.
  • Cost reduction for physician-preference items.

Additionally, MedAssets offers revenue management consulting on denials management, chargemaster management, charge capture, rate modeling, accounts receivable management and more.

Does MedAssets 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?
We accomplish this through our relationship with GHX.

Can you describe the role of member advisory boards in your contracting process?
Advisory boards provide guidance into building and maintaining the relevancy of the contract portfolio to today’s providers’ purchasing needs. Their feedback ensures we are focusing on the areas of most importance to our customers.

To what extent does MedAssets assist members in local or regional contracting?
MedAssets Supply Chain Systems is flexible in our approach to local and regional contracting. Our custom contracting capability allows customers to keep local or regional contracts that provide greater cost savings. We negotiate local contracts for physician-preference items and other items where we find national contracting is not effective.

Does MedAssets help members benchmark their clinical performance? If so, can you explain how?
MedAssets’ Clinical Service Line Consulting improves the profitability of clinical service lines by assisting hospitals with the identification and implementation of process improvements and by gaining physician alignment. MedAssets helps service line managers reduce unwarranted variations in care to achieve optimal financial and clinical performance. Key steps to accomplishing this goal include:

  • Gaining strong physician involvement and support in the project.
  • Ensuring utilization patterns of medical devices that are both fiscally and clinically responsible.
  • Assisting providers in keeping up-to-date on the latest clinical and financial information.
  • Ensuring proper documentation about patient acuity to improve reimbursement.
  • Ensuring providers are up-to-date and implementing the latest quality initiatives.

Does MedAssets help members benchmark their operational performance? If so, can you explain how?
MedAssets helps customers with their clinical operational performance by delivering a comprehensive data-based operations performance improvement assessment that benchmarks performance and recommends a custom work plan to improve it. Our team can also work to implement this plan working side by side with hospital staff in areas such as perioperative services, procedure labs, emergency department, and within inpatient processes such as bed management and patient throughput. Root causes of problems are identified and a redesign is executed using change management and analytical tools.

Does MedAssets 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?
MedAssets has a wholly owned, yet independent company, MedAssets Analytical Systems, dedicated to providing healthcare providers with insight into their supply and services spend and isolating actionable opportunities to reduce their supply expenses. These services are delivered via three core elements:

A…scalable and accurate core transaction and contract data processing engine/operation used to standardize, code (including UNSPSC), and enrich disparate data.
Strategic Information (SI) business intelligence suite of software analytical tools designed to provide repeatable analytics as well as ad hoc macro and micro analyses.
Knowledgeable and experienced strategic analysts and support staff, who conduct front-line hands-on analysis of our clients’ detailed transaction data and contract portfolios….

Does MedAssets offer members resources to help them:

  • Control the cost or usage of physician-preference items? MedAssets consultants analyze data and processes related to clients’ current PPI purchasing practices and identify the best opportunities for improvement. Aspen works closely with physicians to gain buy-in and support. MedAssets then facilitates vendor negotiations, implements new pricing, measures results and audits compliance. Our work is guaranteed to reduce spend on PPI by 5 percent to 18 percent (over and above co-op GPOs’ national contract prices.)
  • Control spending on labor? MedAssets business partners address labor management.
  • Create and manage a vendor-credentialing process? Aspen Healthcare Metrics, a MedAssets company, has a vendor management program designed to help hospitals fully develop and implement vendor policies. This turn-key vendor management program also helps address regulatory demands by providing vendor credentialing services offered by REPtrax…. Aspen Healthcare Metrics will be providing a suite of services including the creation and deployment of vendor credentials, focusing beyond just the actual documents, into the hospitalwide adoption and enforcement of these policies, so that it becomes an integral part of the hospital’s culture. This consistent best practice approach will not only drive value to the hospital, but the vendor community will also benefit from this standardized approach.

Can you describe the educational opportunities (meetings, conferences, webinars, on-line training) MedAssets offers its members?
MedAssets offers training throughout the year, with the most concentrated education taking place at the MedAssets Healthcare Business Summit every spring in Las Vegas. This year’s Performance Forum at the Summit includes sessions ranging from specific clinical topics and case studies to executive finance courses and industry trend overviews. Webinars are held throughout the year on specific topics related to purchasing in all areas within the hospital.

Has the mission of MedAssets changed over the past five years? If so, how?
MedAssets’ mission has not changed. It is and always has been to improve the cash flow and margins of healthcare providers. The way we work with customers to accomplish this has expanded every year. Our revenue management business has grown tremendously, and our tools and services now cover almost 100 percent of the revenue cycle, from pre-admission to payment of the claim.

Finally, how does MedAssets differ from others in the market?
We are a cash flow improvement company. As our capabilities expand, we have a very unique opportunity to integrate products and create new solutions previously unavailable in the marketplace. These new products, services and know-how work together for the good of the customer. An example of integration is our tool, CrossWalk, which links the supply item file with the chargemaster. We deliver 3 percent to 10 percent cost savings in the supply chain, 1 percent to 3 percent improvement on net patient revenue. These results are far beyond the benefit delivered by that of a co-op GPO or revenue cycle vendors. Over 40 IDNs have left their former GPO in the last five years to choose MedAssets. Many of these providers were significant shareholders, founders of the large co-op GPOs. Those relationships are expanding to include broader supply chain and revenue management solutions….MedAssets is also held to a higher standard of transparency as a publicly traded company.