December 14, 2009 11:51 ET

Sutter Health Renews Relationship With VHA Inc. to Drive Additional Supply Chain Savings

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - December 14, 2009) - Sutter Health, Northern California's largest health care system, has renewed its relationship with VHA Inc., the national health care network that serves more than 1,400 not-for-profit hospitals across the nation.

Like all hospital systems, Sutter Health faces the challenge of managing in an environment of reduced reimbursements while working to maintain the highest level of patient care. Partnering with VHA helps hospitals reduce expenses for medical supplies and related costs, allowing hospitals and health care organizations like Sutter Health to save money without adversely impacting patient care.

"We plan to continue to leverage our membership in VHA to make our organization better," said Dennis Maher, vice president of supply chain services at Sutter Health. "Through VHA, we gain greater control over our operations and have access to tools and programs that help us improve the quality of care we offer. Because VHA is a cooperative, we benefit not only from the economies of scale created by its size, but realize a return on our investment in the organization, and also take advantage of its regional resources that enable us to customize and localize the services we access. Partnering with VHA continues to be the right choice for our organization, especially in the difficult environment we face."

Sutter Health purchases more than $1 billion annually in medical equipment, supplies, drugs, medical devices, business and office products and services; a significant portion, but not all of these purchases will go through VHA. As part of its system-wide initiative to drive efficiencies and improve performance, Sutter Health, which operates 27 hospitals, selected VHA because:

--  VHA's medical supply contracting company, Novation, offers the most
    comprehensive opportunity to save across all purchasing categories,
    including: pharmacy, food, medical-surgical supplies, facilities and office
    products, capital equipment, laboratory supplies and medical devices
--  VHA offers analytical tools that will enable Sutter to understand how it
    is spending its money already and gain control over unnecessary spending
--  VHA offers significant savings on medical devices, which represent up to
    50%-80% of the costs of some hospital procedures
--  VHA offers supply chain consulting services that alone will enable the
    organization to reduce supply costs by up to 10%
--  Membership enables Sutter Health to connect with other providers through
    the VHA regional network  to collaborate and develop solutions to the
    clinical and operational challenges they all face
--  VHA helps its members to reduce supply costs, but also teaches members
    how to sustain and build upon those savings on their own

In 2008, Sutter Health was able to take advantage of more than $30 million in contract price savings on supplies and services as a result of its membership in VHA.

"VHA serves some of the nation's largest and best known health care organizations, as well as hundreds of small hospitals across the U.S.," said Rick Barnett, senior vice president of VHA's West Coast region. "In every situation, our mission is to support the success of not-for-profit health care organizations. They are the backbone of our healthcare system, yet they are facing unprecedented challenges. We are proud to be standing with them on the frontlines of health care, helping them reduce costs and improve patient care. We view our work as more important -- and more rewarding -- than ever."

About VHA Inc.

Based in Irving, Texas, VHA 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. Formed in 1977, through its 17 regional offices, VHA serves more than 1,400 hospitals and more than 24,000 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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