Health Industry Group Purchasing Association – Strategies and Value Delivered

In this week’s edition of Healthcare Leadership, Dan Nielsen talks with HIGPA President Curtis Rooney.

Curtis Rooney, President of the Health Industry Group Purchasing Association (HIGPA) recently responded to a number of my questions. In addition to other high priorities, HIGPA is currently in the latter stages of preparing for the 2010 HIGPA International Expo to be held October 25-27, in Orlando, Fla. For more information regarding the Expo, go to http://www.higpa.org/expo/.

As virtually all readers of this column know, HIGPA is a broad-based trade association that represents 16 group purchasing organizations, including for-profit and not-for-profit corporations, purchasing groups, associations, multi-hospital systems and healthcare provider alliances.

Since meeting Curtis Rooney several years ago, he has always been open, honest, committed and a servant-leader in his dealings with me. Following are four of my questions Curtis answered regarding value delivered and strategies of HIGPA, now and in the future. 

 

Nielsen: How do you measure the value delivered by HIGPA?

Rooney: It is sometimes difficult to measure value in the Association business. For example, how do you measure stopping a bad piece of legislation? We’ve done calculations for our members that demonstrate their return on investment by comparing the value of their dues dollars to what they could have paid in proposed excise taxes. Another example is our success in educating Congress about the importance and the original legislative intent behind the GPO Safe Harbor. The Safe Harbor was enacted so that GPOs could effectively provide hospitals the best products at the best value – a feat we achieve with flying colors, as evidenced by voluntary hospital participation at over 90 percent. And yet we regularly face efforts by entrenched special interests such as the medical device lobby to repeal the Safe Harbor.

 

Nielsen: What does HIGPA do best?

Rooney: Both HIGPA and the GPO industry have changed in the last four years. HIGPA has shown itself to be good at getting a very competitive industry on the same page and getting our message of cost containment and savings out. I think the next step is for HIGPA to partner with other segments of the supply chain and work to make it more transparent and efficient. For example, GPOs have taken a lead role in implementing GS1 standards and believe they are key to reducing costs and improving the efficiency of the health care system in the immediate future.

 

Nielsen: What success are you most proud of this year?

Rooney: HIGPA was very successful in navigating the GPO industry through health care reform. We’re very proud of our success and believe that this was a great accomplishment.

 

Nielsen: How will HIGPA change over the next three years to more effectively serve those you serve and deliver even greater value?

Rooney: HIGPA will continue to advocate on behalf of GPOs and demonstrate to policymakers in Washington the value of GPOs. We will increase our value to our members by carrying the message of savings and efficiency, demonstrating the importance of the GPO industry in the nation’s efforts to reduce costs to the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and implement bar codes and increase efficiencies in the supply chain for hospitals and other health care providers.

Thank you Curtis for taking time to answer my questions. Stay turned to read more about HIGPA in a few weeks. This column will feature some of what happens and the value delivered at the upcoming 2010 HIGPA International Expo.

Copyright © 2010 by Dan Nielsen. dnielsen@nihcl.com

Founder, National Institute for Healthcare Leadership   www.nihcl.com

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