Ten People: Richard Blackburn

This month JHC features its Ten People to Watch in Healthcare Contracting. We’ll provide excerpts and information on each person featured. For the full feature and August issue of JHC, visit www.jhconline.com

Richard Blackburn, assistant vice president for support services

CaroMont Health, Gastonia, N.C. 

435 bed non-profit hospital integrated system, annual supply and purchased services spend of approximately $130 million.

The Journal of Healthcare Contracting: What has been the most challenging and rewarding project you have been involved in recently?

Richard Blackburn: We have continuously improved our relationship with physicians and suppliers and now have physician councils that review service line performance, which includes cost, quality and patient satisfaction, among other things. Our supply chain processes link clinical, financial, and operational elements to deliver value for patients and clinicians.  Perhaps the most rewarding aspect is receiving a call from a neurosurgeon, cardiologist, or orthopedic surgeon asking for our advice about how to control cost.

JHC: What is the biggest change we can expect to see in healthcare contracting in the next five years?

Blackburn: As pricing becomes more transparent in the market, price will be easier to negotiate [and] there will be an expectation for suppliers to be price transparent. In addition, hospitals and providers will continue to confront the mandate for quality.  We will also see revenue shrink. Materials management will serve a vital role as organizations try to master the cost-to-quality ratio.

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