by Heather Mayer
, DOTmed News Reporter | August 31, 2010
Seven North Carolina hospitals that formed the purchasing coalition Southern Atlantic Health Care Alliance saved $2.8 million over the past two years by aggregating their purchasing volume, the group reported late last week.
Although the hospitals, all members of national health care network VHA Inc., worked together to save, they were still able to make independent decisions about product purchases, the group said.
The seven hospitals include Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital, Davidson Health Care Inc., High Point Regional Health System, Moses Cone Health System, Nash Health Care System, Sampson Regional Medical Center and WakeMed Health and Hospitals.
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"Purchasing coalitions create opportunities for savings on clinical commodities that hospitals use every day as well as more specialized products, resulting in significant savings while fostering peer-to-peer interaction and knowledge sharing," said Scott Downing, executive vice president of supply chain management for VHA, in prepared remarks.
In one savings strategy, SAHA members created a prototype with member-approved features for some existing patient footwear. Because members agreed to aggregate their purchasing volumes and the supplier agreed to make the changes and lower the cost, SAHA officials say this initiative will reduce costs and decrease the number of inventory stock keeping units, or SKUs, for hospitals that discontinue their use of hard-soled slippers.
"We are working on several initiatives and believe that these savings will grow as SAHA continues to mature," said Susan Aquino-Smith, SAHA's chairman of the Joint Implementation Team and contract administrator for Moses Cone Health System, in prepared remarks.