St. Anthony’s Medical Center achieves one-third of expected $9 million savings goal

Jan. 12, 2010

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (January 11, 2010) – St. Anthony’s Medical Center, St. Louis’ largest free-standing hospital, has achieved one-third of an expected $9 million in savings in just one year of membership in the Premier healthcare alliance

“We’re extremely satisfied,” said St. Anthony’s Director of Supply Chain Management Perry Willmore. “We’re one of the few hospitals that not only made their budgets in the last fiscal year but we actually exceeded our budget. Our relationship with Premier had something to do with that, I’m sure.” St. Anthony’s was formerly with the MedAssets GPO.

“Our relationship with Premier is very positive,” Willmore said, “and will continue to be so because Premier truly thinks about the needs of its members and takes steps to protect the membership. I never feel Premier is doing things for its benefit. I always feel Premier does things for the membership’s benefit.”

Willmore attributes part of the savings to joining Premier’s ASCEND™ (Accelerated Supply Chain Endeavor) program, which helps hospitals achieve and sustain rapid supply chain performance improvements. ASCEND “has brought us real value,” Willmore said. “We’ve seen cost savings up to 37 percent on ASCEND contracts.”

The program is so important that, according to Willmore, St. Anthony’s established a new policy regarding ASCEND. “Any department wanting to opt out of any ASCEND contract cannot do so until it first appears before our senior leadership Value Analysis steering committee to justify its decision. That’s how seriously we take the ASCEND program.”

ASCEND – now representing some 150 Premier member hospitals, 28,000 hospital beds and $3-plus billion in purchasing volume – features specially negotiated contracts, simplified purchasing processes, and SpendAdvisor® MySpend™, Premier’s innovative spend management decision support tool.

In December 2007, an independent consultant helped carry out a group purchasing organization (GPO) review for St. Anthony’s. Requests for information (RFPs) were sent to six GPOs; five received an RFP with a blind and in-depth survey. Comparisons included estimated administrative fees; net cash distributions based on share back or equity buildup/stock accounts or both; total cash return; value adds; market basket savings/cost increases; and overall best value.

According to the consultant’s analysis, Premier’s proposal offered total value in excess of 20 percent compared to other participants. Conversion 2009 savings were almost $2.4 million, including nearly $740,000 in exact matches during transition.

“The conversion was simple,” Willmore explained. “We had good direction and Premier’s resources made it easy. If we needed someone from pharmacy, pharmacy experts were available. If we needed someone from med-surg, those experts were available. We had all the resources to get it done quickly.”

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