May 19, 2006 10:26 ET

Missouri Not-for-Profit Hospitals Improve Clinical Care and Save $43 Million Through Link With VHA Inc.

Thousands of Hospital Executives Arrive in St. Louis Next Week for VHA's Annual Conference Focused on Improving Health Care

IRVING, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 19, 2006 -- VHA Inc., a national health care alliance, announced today that its Missouri members saved more than $43.3 million in 2005 through its supply chain management services, and that the hospitals are on track to exceed that savings figure in 2006. Missouri-based VHA members purchased more than $718.4 million in supplies in 2005 through Novation, VHA's group purchasing organization (GPO).

VHA member BJC HealthCare of St. Louis, purchased the most through VHA and saved the most money last year of any major not-for-profit system in the state on purchases of drugs, supplies, devices and equipment.

"As large as we are, we are able to benefit by working with VHA to help us reduce our supply costs," said Nancy LeMaster, BJC vice president of supply chain operations. "Our aim is to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible in delivering high quality patient care, and our relationship with VHA helps us in that effort."

Many smaller Missouri hospitals also recorded significant savings and other benefits from working with VHA. VHA works with 41 hospitals in Missouri, including: BJC HealthCare, Cox Health System in Springfield, Freeman Health System in Joplin, St. Luke's Health System in Kansas City, Liberty Hospital, Skaggs Medical Center in Branson, St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, and Citizens Memorial Hospital in Boliver. As VHA members, the hospitals voluntarily participates in VHA programs and leverage the discounted supply contracts negotiated by Novation to save money on purchases of essential, but expensive, supplies for their patients.

GPOs serve as extensions of hospital purchasing departments and provide special expertise, negotiating experience, electronic tools and processes to streamline buying and save hospitals hundreds of millions of dollars each year. On average, hospitals buying through Novation save an average of one to three percent, compared with purchasing on their own or through another GPO. These savings fall immediately to a hospital's bottom line, giving them resources that can be used for other purposes, such as providing the hospital with more staff to provide better care.

In addition to supply chain management programs, VHA's clinical team offers programs to help hospitals improve care in the most critical areas, such as the operating room, the ICU and the emergency room.

In addition to working with hospitals in the state, VHA and Novation have contracts with Missouri-based suppliers, including: Controlled Environmental Products, Ethex Corporation, Farmland Foods, Fixtures Furniture, Forest Pharmaceuticals, Goodtime Medical, Graybar Electric, Mallinckrodt, Martec Pharmaceuticals, Matthews Medical and Scientific Books, Metro Medical Equipment and Supply and Midwest Medical Supply Company. These companies make vitamins and medications, medical education materials, medical office furniture, medical devices, and offer medical supply distribution services. Through Novation, these suppliers are able to reduce marketing costs, expand their sales and promote new and emerging technologies to the health care marketplace.

About VHA

VHA Inc., based in Irving, Texas, is a national health care alliance that provides industry-leading supply chain management services and supports the formation of regional and national networks to help members improve their clinical and economic performance. With 18 offices across the U.S., VHA has a track record of proven results in serving more than 2,400 health care organizations nationwide.

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