August 26, 2010 14:50 ET

Seven North Carolina Hospitals in SAHA Purchasing Coalition Save $2.8 Million

Tools, Teamwork and Commitment Yield Substantial Benefits for Two-Year-Long Collaboration

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - August 26, 2010) -  Seven hospitals in North Carolina, all members of VHA Inc., the national health care network, formed the Southern Atlantic Health Care Alliance, known as SAHA, purchasing coalition in 2007. Within the past two years, they have saved $2.8 million by aggregating their purchasing volume and achieving greater savings than they could have realized individually, while retaining their ability to make independent decisions about product purchases as hospitals adopt tactics that help them do more with reduced resources. 

"Almost daily, our member hospitals tell us that current conditions are forcing them to stretch their budgets without impinging upon patient care," said Scott Downing, executive vice president of Supply Chain Management at VHA. "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."

Working with VHA to focus on supply chain improvement activities, SAHA purchasing coalition acts as a single entity to drive savings and supply chain efficiency that reduce supply expenses. On average, members of VHA Supply Networks save 8% to 12% annually through network contracts.

Members of SAHA are:  
Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital Dunn
Davidson Health Care Inc. Lexington
High Point Regional Health System High Point
Moses Cone Health System Greensboro
Nash Health Care System Rocky Mount
Sampson Regional Medical Center Clinton
WakeMed Health and Hospitals Raleigh

Demonstrating the benefits of aggregation, collaboration, commitment and teamwork, SAHA members anticipate significant savings while preserving patient safety. For example, they created a prototype, with member-approved new features for some existing patient footwear. Because members agreed to aggregate their purchasing volumes and the supplier, Encompass, agreed to make the changes and lower the cost, this standardization 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. 

"The Moses Cone Health System values the SAHA membership because we've realized more than $500,000 in savings since joining the network," says Susan Aquino-Smith, SAHA's chairman of the Joint Implementation Team and Contract Administrator for The Moses Cone Health System in Greensboro, NC. "We are working on several initiatives and believe that these savings will grow as SAHA continues to mature." 

About VHA -- VHA Inc., based in Irving, Texas, is a national network of not-for-profit health care organizations that work together to drive maximum savings in the supply chain arena, set new levels of clinical performance and identify and implement best practices to improve operational efficiency and clinical outcomes. In 2009, VHA delivered record savings and value of $1.47 billion to members. Formed in 1977, through its 16 regional offices, VHA serves more than 1,400 hospitals and more than 28,000+ non-acute care providers nationwide. VHA was ranked by Modern Healthcare as the 7th best place to work in health care in 2009.

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