By Michael Berryhill, President of GPO Operations, HealthTrust Performance Group
Sponsored HealthTrust November 2023- The Journal of Healthcare Contracting
Healthcare providers continue to grapple with extreme financial pressures. Kaufmann Hall reported that 39% of the hospital/health system mergers and acquisitions announced in Q3 2023 involved a party for which financial distress was cited as a driver for the transaction. Macro issues facing healthcare providers are vast, including: inflation, high interest rates, cost of capital, staff shortages, burn-out, reimbursement rates, revenue cycle management challenges, shift of care dynamics, cybersecurity threats, evolving regulatory requirements, continued management of supply disruptions, and more.
These macro issues are exerting financial pressure, as well as pressure on overall management and day-to-day operations. Providers must aim for enhanced patient care and effective cost management through improved utilization, optimization of labor productivity, technological innovation, adoption of appropriate service line growth and site of care strategies, to name a few.
Healthcare providers are seeking solutions to improve the healthcare ecosystem, but with limited resources, finite budgets and the speed at which change is necessary, providers need support from trusted partners now more than ever.
Michael Berryhill, President of GPO Operations at HealthTrust Performance Group shares how HealthTrust approaches performance improvement with its members.
Q: GPOs have existed for more than a century and were first formed to aggregate purchasing volume of their members to deliver the best pricing and contract terms for the highest quality products, as determined by clinicians. How critical is this service today?
MB: Recent inflationary pressures have highlighted the impact GPOs have on provider performance. At HealthTrust, we believe the GPO is performing to the best of its ability when the healthcare provider and the supplier do not have to spend limited resources re-negotiating contracts and pricing on traditional clinical categories (e.g. medical, surgical). Those valuable provider and supplier resources are better spent on other efforts. Every day we ask and measure ourselves on: “Are we helping providers control and lower supply expense? Are we delivering a portfolio with the products and services providers deem necessary to best take care of patients? Are our supplier partners delivering on performance expectations, including supply continuity?” We are a provider and we work for the providers – their mission is our mission.
Q: What other solutions should a GPO be delivering to its members?
MB: Delivering a robust and competitive contracting portfolio is table stakes. GPOs must go beyond simply managing supply spend to create value. Those solutions should be designed with the patient at the center. Our operating model and culture as a provider-owned and operated GPO is to focus on solutions that solve a challenge the provider is facing. The solutions we have developed over the years have been formed through identifying and meeting challenges our members have brought forward, not from thinking about additional revenue streams.
Q: How is HealthTrust partnering with healthcare providers to bring value and improve performance?
MB: One way is helping members manage purchased services spend. Purchased services are fragmented and it is difficult to identify the spend and manage it effectively. Valify Solutions Group was born from members needing a spend analytics technology to manage purchased services spend, benchmarking and best practice insights, coupled with a competitive and robust purchased services portfolio and category subject matter experts.
AdvantageTrust, our non-acute business, continues to develop solutions that address needs arising from the shift of care and the unique needs of the non-acute market.
Advisory Solutions offers services that bring physicians, clinicians, supply chain and administrative leaders together to solve problems. Collaborative summits have been held on a variety of topics – from staffing and shift of care, to specific clinically focused topics like sepsis, robotics and optimizing the care of complex cardiovascular patient. We leverage spend and utilization data, clinical outcome and reimbursement information, and most importantly the best minds in the industry to share best practices with our members.
We also provide rapid turnaround strategies designed to address specific member needs by optimizing operations and driving value back into the supply chain. We deploy experienced hospital operators that are adept at applying decades of supply chain learning. Our value acceleration offering includes inventory optimization, warehouse logistics, capital management, procure-to-pay, value analysis, and more.
We believe that partnering with a GPO that offers authentic operator expertise will help healthcare providers achieve improvements in costs, quality and operational efficiencies. Decisions are made collaboratively and informed by experts who understand the operational and clinical requirements to effectively run a healthcare facility. Decision-making is always patient focused, which ensures quality care delivery.
Q: What advice would you give a healthcare provider in working with their GPO?
MB: Assess the value and solutions your GPO offers. Bring forward problems you need solved and challenge your GPO to help you solve them. Ensure your GPO is creating value for you – not the other way around. GPOs should be there to serve the member and deliver compelling value creation.
About HealthTrust: As a member-first and operator-led organization, HealthTrust focuses on overall performance improvement, both through spend management and solutions that drive operational and clinical optimization for its 1,800 members. Combining one of the broadest contract portfolios in the industry with a committed GPO model and operator advantage, HealthTrust provides unprecedented value to members. To learn more about the value HealthTrust provides its members and their patients, please visit HealthTrustPG.com.