All hands on deck

TPC members believe success is all about engagement,

Roger Nolan

Familiarity leads to trust, which leads to commitment, then accountability, and finally, results.

It is a formula that has worked for the members and owners of the TPC for quite some time.

Based in Plano, Texas, TPC was formally created in 2009, but some of its member/owners have been working together to improve their operations for decades. With a model of trust and cooperation in place, TPC has expanded its scope and size, so that today, it represents 11 health systems in Texas, Missouri, Arkansas and Colorado. Together they represent approximately $1 billion in purchasing volume, and have achieved more than $300 million in savings since 2009.

“For over 30 years, our mission has remained consistent,” says Roger Nolan, who became president and CEO of TPC in September 2019. “We foster an environment in which our members can thrive and best serve their communities while maintaining their independence.”

Performance improvement

“TPC has created a disciplined environment, which has allowed for our relationship with our members to go beyond traditional purchasing activities,” says Nolan. “Our model goes beyond the basics of commodities, and we’ve found a niche in successfully navigating more difficult categories, like physician preference items. We have partnered with our members in areas that are typically addressed at the local level, and we have collectively realized significant wins in tough categories that other coalition groups may not consider.”

Nolan refers to TPC not as a regional purchasing coalition, but as a performance improvement coalition.

“Our demonstrated success in the more traditional supply chain arena has led to an expanded focus, which today includes revenue cycle, purchased services, insurance services and performance improvement,” he says.

“Each of these categories follows a similar approach — active member participation at every level, to include our physicians, clinicians and the full complement of our executive suites, including CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CNOs and CMOs. The uniqueness and challenge of managing a virtual system of providers is to have them engaged.”

Nolan has plenty of experience keeping people engaged, given his 30 years of experience in healthcare consulting, operations improvement and business development. He has held senior titles with several GPOs, including MedAssets, Broadlane and Vizient. “I’ve been building unifying platforms for 30 years, from cardiac emergency networks to centers of excellence,” he says.

A virtual system

“The TPC value proposition continues to reflect our historical principles as a virtual system – that is, aggregate our individual resources, expertise and capabilities to create greater collective value.

“The communities our members serve, as with all of healthcare, are growing more complex each year. There is more pressure for independent providers to maintain – if not exceed – the cost, quality and market performance of larger health systems than ever before. TPC members continue to demonstrate an extraordinary ability to operate effectively together to address these challenges while maintaining local control of the decisions that impact their patients.

“The benefit of them doing so is we get to address the more challenging opportunities that often offer a higher reward. We have worked closely with our members to evolve their engagement with TPC with the purpose of driving incremental value in our strategic programs.

“Together we are able to drive the highest value in the most difficult categories when members trust the process and hold each other accountable. This is both a testament to our members’ willingness to actively participate on a regular basis, and our greatest example of success. The physicians and clinicians engaged in TPC’s initiatives understand that better patient outcomes come from sharing best practices. In addition, our physicians and clinicians are highly motivated to keep healthcare decisions at the local level. They do not want to be told how to practice medicine from a corporate office. TPC gives our healthcare providers the ability to voice their opinions and make better decisions for their patients.

“TPC members have found tremendous value in working together to address their respective local needs and missions, and we welcome others with the desire and commitment to do the same, regardless of geography,” he continues.

“Our model is admittedly not for everyone. But those wanting a voice to maintain independence and local control realize active participation and member-to-member engagement is the cost of admission.”