Publisher’s Letter – Making Our Way Back to Normal

October 2021 – The Journal of Healthcare Contracting

John Pritchard

Last week we hosted a meeting in Atlanta that brought suppliers, distributors, providers and GPOs together to discuss all things Supply Chain. This is only the second time I’ve been with a group of stakeholders since COVID hit and it felt great to be in person and look into the eyes of people I’ve known for years.

Some of the concerns and emotions people shared were expected. Suppliers are concerned about getting access to Supply Chain leaders as we move into this new era of living with COVID restrictions. I’m sure many suppliers will struggle to get venue with IDNs where they currently don’t have business. They’re going to have to work even harder to provide information, education, and insight for providers so the supplier is considered a valued stakeholder. I think the days of knocking on doors looking for more business are numbered.

GPOs really enhanced their value to providers during COVID, helping locate supplies, but also as a clearinghouse for information during times of crises. The old saying goes something like “during a crisis make sure you communicate, communicate, communicate,” and I think GPOs had a sympathetic ear from their provider members and were quick to jump into action to help when they could. I would guess most providers feel better about their GPO partner than when we went into the pandemic.

It’s safe to say everyone was concerned for our nation’s healthcare providers and the unprecedented stress they’ve been under during the pandemic, and most recently the Delta variant surge. Their constant battle to make sure they have enough “stuff and staff” to care for their communities is continually top of mind. It was also apparent the feeling of almost anger towards people that have yet to get vaccinated, making so much of the illness preventable.

With all great tragedies and troubled times, we have to look for a lesson to learn so we come out better than when it all started. My hope is all the stakeholders are more understanding of what others are up against day in and day out. In this age of Zoom and conference calls, it’s harder to read a person’s emotions and where they are mentally. A little pause to make sure we know how people are doing can go a long way these days.

I hope you enjoy this issue of The Journal of Healthcare Contracting!

— John Pritchard