Publisher’s Letter March/April 2005

It’s compliance we want…

My 5-year-old daughter started playing soccer this year. The teams play three-on-three with no goalies, and my goodness are they cute. All six girls run together in a tight pack, one girl dribbling the ball while her teammates try to stay by her side. The opposite team runs right along with her, and neither team has any concern for being in position for what will happen. All of the girls are content simply being in the center of the action.

The whole pack will migrate up and down the field, sometimes resulting in a goal, and sometimes resulting in a shot that rolls way wide of the empty goal. Whether the team scores, the girls share the same excitement and energy, as the referee re-loads the game with a ball and has the pack moving back the other way. No one even keeps score.

In some weird way, these little girls remind me of our market place and the demand for contract compliance. It seems the gripes and concerns of the market move back and forth in a “pack” mentality – one that is high in energy and well intentioned, but not necessarily with direction or focus.

Throughout the day, I talk to suppliers and manufacturers about the need to incase compliance of group purchasing organization (GPO) contracts they have in place. I always ask how they are driving compliance. Usually, to my surprise, they seem to feel victimized, responding, “What can you do?”

A number of big companies depend on GPO contracts and, more important, contract compliance. These companies struggle with the idea of putting into place integrated deliver network (IDN) specialists to solely focus on driving compliance of contracts at the IDN and with its facilities. It is naive to think that the contract alone will bring transactions.

With the shareholders of many GPOs being IDNs, the IDNs are deciding which contracts to access and at what level. In my mind, the focus, education and direction from contracted suppliers should be aimed at the IDN.

Like the little girls playing soccer, it just seems we make this harder than it needs to be.

About the Author

John Pritchard
John Pritchard is the publisher of The Journal of Healthcare Contracting.