Publisher’s Letter January/February 2006

Full of Possibilities

Welcome to the first issue of 2006 of The Journal of Healthcare Contracting. I’m thrilled to say that you’re reading the largest issue yet of The Journal. In just the beginning of our third year of publication, I’m proud to announce that our advertising support, subscription requests and reach into the contracting arena continue to expand at a rapid pace. The topics in this issue are representative of why all these indications are so favorable.

Capital equipment contracting seems to be a constant struggle – and opportunity – for IDNs and hospitals across the nation. In this issue, Laura Thill reiterates that contracting for capital equipment is best performed when conducted as a process, not a transaction. While this seems like common sense, the article offers some guidance on implementing this in your organization.

Our Executive Interview offers an interesting perspective of healthcare from a large global employer. In very few markets does one find a third party paying the bill for a consumer. Yet in healthcare, one could argue that we have just that. With employers, insurers and the government covering healthcare costs for citizens and employees, many are concerned that patients have become poor consumers, paying little attention to cost vs. value of care. Could that be why we’ve heard so much in the news recently about large employers struggling with the cost of care for their employees?

With 407,000 employees, UPS carries a huge healthcare bill. In the Executive Interview, “What can Brown do for Healthcare,” Dale Whitney, corporate health and welfare manager of UPS, talks about what drives his decision on healthcare coverage. I’m always curious if employers simply search for the cheapest coverage possible, or if they try to look after the true wellness of their employees. Whitney’s comments offer an interesting perspective from a large global employer.

Finally, in this issue, we also explore a new organization, The Catholic Contracting Group. It’s made up of five Premier IDNs. In “Flexing Some Muscle,” we learn how these IDNs – which comprise about $2.4 billion in annual purchases through Premier – are attempting to leverage their volume to drive a mission focused on environmental and patient safety initiatives. It’s interesting to see the drivers of a group to start a contracting initiative like this. Is this the start of a trend?

Please enjoy this issue of The Journal of Healthcare Contracting and thanks for reading!

About the Author

John Pritchard
John Pritchard is the publisher of The Journal of Healthcare Contracting.