St. Elizabeth Physicians supports its non-acute sites by partnering with key suppliers and distributors
September 2022 – The Journal of Healthcare Contracting
Top 5 Non-Acute Supply Chain Leaders: Part 1
The role of non-acute supply chain leaders has changed and expanded during the pandemic. As demand for quality products increased and supply chains became strained, supply chain leaders were pushed into a central business role in the organization, putting more focus on supplier and distributor relationships. Now that health care is starting to resemble some level of normalcy, Health Systems continue to consolidate through acquisition, expand their non-acute networks and become more diverse in their offerings, and therefore their needs.
The integration of new facilities always presents the challenge of how to standardize materials management and purchasing systems. But St. Elizabeth Physicians in the Greater Cincinnati region is a prime example of what successfully integrating a non-acute supply chain can bring to a health system.
St. Elizabeth is the multispecialty physician organization of St. Elizabeth Healthcare. Its supplier management program measures key metrics such as performance, savings and quality improvement goals, and its expectations in these have risen during the pandemic.
“We’ve set up our health system for success by researching and anticipating shifts in the supplier market, and developing action plans based on predicted market changes,” said Thomas Mullins, purchasing manager of St. Elizabeth Physicians. “My role has continued to expand for our non-acute sites, developing strategies to achieve sustainable relationships with our suppliers and ensuring achievement of our organizational goals through strategic development planning.”
St. Elizabeth Physicians has found that partnering with McKesson on distribution has been very rewarding too, according to Mullins.
“They’re the subject matter experts,” he said. “They’ve developed strategies to ensure the criteria they provide meets all the key stakeholders’ objectives and business requirements for St. Elizabeth Physicians. They’ve provided their guidance throughout training, coaching and implementation of best practices seen in their field.”
During the past 12 months, McKesson has supported St. Elizabeth Physicians in its efforts to drive inventory management, reduce costs and standardize products through formulary integration. McKesson has also worked with St. Elizabeth Physicians’ temporary warehouse location at its corporate headquarters to transfer all allocations and ensure quantities were appropriately distributed amongst its practices and clinics. This has allowed St. Elizabeth Physicians’ care sites to have sufficient supply throughout the pandemic.
Mullins says that partnering with McKesson has led to innovative ways to improve productivity and efficiency within its departments.
“The key is understanding where things can be standardized and networking within your internal departments to understand who you need to work with, what products need to change and where price points need to be,” Mullins said. “The number one thing is quality and making sure we deliver the best care possible to our patients.”
He says trying to provide that care with a standardized approach to its practices is the goal for St. Elizabeth Physicians and that McKesson has offered the data integrity to help achieve it.
“Non-acute supply chain integration allows us to improve our spend management and assure our supply,” Mullins concluded. “This allows us to deliver uninterrupted, high-quality care to our patients.”
St. Elizabeth Physicians has more than 700 providers and over 2,200 non-provider associates delivering care in 169 physician offices in Northern Kentucky, Southwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana.