Publisher’s Letter November/December 2007

Making Predictions

It just seems every year goes faster than the year before. But for some reason this year just flew by! Maybe it went so fast because all the great people, stories and topics we explored in 2007.

A defining moment for the Journal of Healthcare Contracting was Mark Thill’s exploration of physician-owned device suppliers. The cover sums it up; Physician or Supplier? It will be interesting to see how that question is answered. I have a feeling we will know more very soon in 2008.

The people in our market are absolutely fascinating. In the March/April issue, Mike Alkire, President of Premier Purchasing Partners, explained how Premier returned 72 percent of its contract administration fees to its members. This is up from 42 percent just a few years earlier! What a testament to Premier’s investment in technology, processes and improving practices for their owners and members.

Early in 2007, we explored how Sentara manages vendor access, which becomes a bigger deal every day for IDNs. Sentara seems to have gotten its arms around managing the suppliers trying to gain market share at its seven campuses around southeastern Virginia and North Carolina.

Those were just some of the 2007 highlights. Now I would like to turn back the clock to November/December 2006 and pretend I made the following predictions. I wonder which predictions would have been scoffed at as crazy!

The 2006 predictions for 2007 in the Healthcare Contracting Arena:

  • Non-profit GPO-Consorta, owned by Catholic IDNs, would become an owner of for-profit GPO-HealthTrust, owned by the for-profit likes of HCA, Lifepoint and Community Health Systems.
  • A major GPO will file for an IPO.
  • A silver bullet process on how to perfect contracting for high physician preference items will not be discovered by IDNs.

I am looking forward to 2008. Will we see as many interesting things happen like we did in the above predictions? I can say with complete confidence that the answer is … probably.

Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas

About the Author

John Pritchard

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