GPOs Gather, Recognize Members and Vendors

Edition: December 2001 - Vol 9 Number 12
Article#: 1121
Author: Repertoire

For the second time in three years, Irving, TX-based Novation received the Health Industry Group Purchasing Association's Purchaser of the Year Award at HIGPA's 2001 International EXPO in Palm Desert, CA. Novation first received the award in 1999.

Meanwhile, Kimberly Clark was presented with the association's Vendor of the Year Award.

Ed Gravell, HIGPA Board of Directors chairman-elect and director of health systems at Allegiance Healthcare, presented the purchaser's award to Mark McKenna, president of Novation.

Criteria for the award, which is presented each October, state that the organization must have made significant contributions to the health care field, to its customers and membership, and to HIGPA. Nominations were collected from the HIGPA membership earlier this year, with the final vote taken by HIGPA members attending the 2001 EXPO.

Novation was established in January 1998 through a combination of the supply programs of VHA and the University Healthsystem Consortium. It serves more than 2,300 members and affiliates of VHA and UHC, and manages more than $17 billion in annual purchases.

Vendor Award
In presenting the vendor award to Kimberly-Clark's Keith Kuchta, executive director for national accounts and distribution, Gravell said this: ''Kimberly-Clark has made significant contributions to the field, to their current customers, and to HIGPA. ''They have demonstrated leadership and innovation in advancing the mission of top quality products and services, at the best price, for the benefit of all the patients served in the health care industry.''

As with the purchaser's award, nominations for the vendor's prize were collected from the HIGPA membership earlier this year, with the final vote taken by HIGPA members attending the 2001 EXPO.

Innovative Technologies
The three-day annual meeting featured a number of educational and networking events.

Addressing the industry's need to solicit physicians' input in product decisions were Michael Guthrie, M.D., senior vice president for physician relations at Premier, and Rodney Hochman, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer at Sentara Healthcare, Norfolk, VA. Integrating new, innovative products is a critically important mission for providers, Hochman said. ''What we're finding from the health system perspective is that we need to stay ahead of the curve so that when a new innovation comes out and a small company has something, that we hear about it,'' he added.

Meanwhile, Guthrie pointed out that working with physicians is an integral component of the purchasing process Providers must ''try to use the data you have to rank in order the priority of importance of a particular item, and not just on cost,'' he said. ''You have to be able to demonstrate and make a credible case for the physicians about quality and safety.....''

Joe Flower, principal of What If....and a respected author, writer and consultant, talked about the need for new, innovative technologies. Flower is founder and principal of The Change Project, an educational and consulting organization primarily concerned with health care technology.

''Every other industry in America has learned to use new technologies and new management to revolutionize itself,'' said Flower. ''It is now time for the health care industry to stop being the slow learner.'' Flower told the audience about a number of new technologies, including man-made organs, either from animal collagen, referred to as neo-organs, and battery operated artificial organs. In addition, he added that a new generation of imaging devices will replace existing X-rays and MRI technologies, allowing physicians to see three-dimensional volumetric images.

Barry Wishner, president and CEO of DMC Inc., a health care management consulting firm, spoke at a session titled ''The Power to Execute Change....How Health Care Leaders Make Things Happen.'' After interviewing over 300 CEOs, Wishner gave EXPO attendees a cross-industry perspective on how their counterparts in other industries execute change to gain a competitive edge. He framed his discussion around his concept of PROFORMANCE, which he defines as translating corporate theory into straight talk so that health care leaders can develop statements to execute change, define where the organization needs to go and how to get there. Wishner asked EXPO attendees to challenge the status quo and offer new services before they become obvious to the competition.

John Kasich, former U.S. Congressman and chairman of the New Century Project, an organization dedicated to fostering new and innovative thinking about government and America's future, challenged the audience to take their knowledge of technology and government regulations and ''make affordable health care accessible to all.''

Also speaking was Gail Wilensky, the John M. Olin Senior Fellow at Project HOPE, an international health foundation, where she analyzes and develops policies relating to health reform and to ongoing changes in the medical market place. Wilensky is also Chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, which advises Congress on all payment and expenditure issues relating to Medicare, as well as many non-payment issues including access to care, performance measures and quality standards, graduate medical education and the relationship between Medicare and the rest of the health care sector. Previously, she chaired the Physician Payment Review Commission. Her previous position was in the White House, serving as Deputy Assistant to the President for Policy Development, where she advised President George Bush on health and welfare issues and served as the White House spokesperson in both of these areas. She came to the White House after two years as the Administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) in the Department of Health and Human Services, where she directed the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

New Board of Directors
Meanwhile, HIGPA elected five members to its board. They are:

* Mark McKenna, president, Novation.
* Rand Ballard, president, GPO Business, MedAssets, Inc.
* Todd Ebert, executive vice president, AmeriNet Inc.
* Scott Farrar, vice president national agreements, HealthTrust Purchasing Group.
* Tom Sullivan, director, national accounts, Hill-Rom.

The four departing members, whose terms expire on Dec. 31, are:

* Eldon Petersen, president, Healthcare Purchasing Partners Intl.
* John Piazza, vice president sales, CHAMPS Management Services.
* John Strong, president and CEO, Consorta Inc.
* Victor Samolovitch: senior vice president, AmeriNet Central.

Steve Stuber, senior vice president for strategic partnerships & business development at McKesson Corp., was re-elected to the Board. In addition, current Board member Wayne Thompson, president and COO at Konica Medical Imaging, was elected to the post of secretary of the Board after the retirement of Tom Jamieson, formerly of Health Services Corporation of America.

Following is a complete listing of the 2002-2003 Board of Directors:

* Chairman: Gerald Vicenzi, president, SYNERNET.
* Immediate Past Chair: Derwood B. Dunbar, Jr., president and CEO, MAGNET Inc.
* Chairman-Elect: Ed Gravell, director, health systems, Allegiance Healthcare.
* Treasurer: Alfred J. LoBiondo, senior vice president, supply chain management, GNYHA Services.
* Secretary: Wayne Thompson, president and COO, Konica Medical Imaging.
* Steve Stuber, McKesson Corp.
* D. McWilliams Kessler, CEO, Wills Eye Hospital.
* Howard E. Sanders, senior vice president, group purchasing services, Premier Inc.
* Henry Levi, national accounts, Eli Lilly & Co.
* Allan Fine, vice president, CHPS Consulting.
* Mark McKenna, Novation
* Rand Ballard, MedAssets, Inc.
* Todd Ebert, AmeriNet Inc.
* Scott Farrar, HealthTrust Purchasing Group.
* Tom Sullivan, Hill-Rom.
* Robert Betz, president and CEO, HIGPA.