What’s New?

What’s new about Amerinet? Plenty, say the leaders of the St. Louis-based group purchasing organization.

At its 2006 Supplier Conference, Amerinet executives described the organization’s new, centralized structure, which they believe will reduce organizational complexities and make it easier for providers and business partners to do business with the GPO. What’s more, Amerinet’s new legal structure, as a limited liability corporation, allows it to welcome new member organizations – including IDNs – as owners.

Meanwhile, this year, Amerinet members should expect to see increased emphasis on physician-preference items, more clinical specialists in the field, and an integrated field sales force in their facilities. It’s all part of what CEO Victor Samolovitch and President/COO Todd Ebert call “new Amerinet.”

Enterprise Solutions
A new division, Enterprise Solutions, is intended to help members improve their performance in clinical-preference supply cost management. Amerinet estimates that physician-preference items account for 40 percent of the typical provider’s supply expenses.

Under the leadership of Executive Vice President Randy Walter, Enterprise Solutions will help members work not only on standardization and cost control, but also on quality improvement and clinical outcomes associated with physician-preference items.

Amerinet has already increased the number of clinically trained specialists working in the field with members on product conversion and usage issues, said Walters, who himself was trained as a microbiologist and who has clinical management experience. These specialists include radiology techs, lab techs, dieticians, registered nurses and others. “We want to make sure that credibility is there instantly, so we can move business quickly,” Walter told the GPO’s suppliers.

Enterprise Solutions encompasses the Amerinet Clinical Advantage Program, designed to help members reduce high-dollar implant costs; and Diagnostix, which includes the AccuPrice pricing-accuracy program for pharmaceutical purchases, and the AccuSave purchasing analysis program.

Streamlining the organization
Indeed, work on remaking Amerinet continues. Founded as a subchapter T co-operative by four regional GPOs in 1986 (one of which – HSCA – subsequently dropped out), the organization in 2003 announced its intention to unite its network of companies under a new national image and strategic direction. In May 2006, Amerinet completed its acquisition of one of its founding members – Providence, R.I.-based Vector. The two other remaining founders – Amerinet Central and Intermountain Healthcare -remain as investor owners.

According to Samolovitch, Amerinet continues to work toward streamlining and centralizing itself, eliminating duplicative overhead, such as individual human-resources and accounting departments, and automated membership systems. Under the leadership of Miller, the organization continues to standardize information-technology and business tools. Beginning in January 2007, Amerinet’s entire field sales force – under the direction of Hanks – will have a common compensation and benefits program.

By eliminating redundancies, Amerinet expects to save as much as $7 million over three years, said Ebert.