VHA Helps Hospitals Reduce Cardiovascular Costs By 14 Percent; Supply Initiative Identifies $120 Million in Potential Savings for VHA Members

Aug 04, 2004, 01:00 ET from VHA Inc.

    IRVING, Texas, Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- VHA Inc., the national health care
 alliance, has helped nearly 400 member hospitals identify more than
 $120 million in potential savings for cardiovascular services, one of the most
 costly services for hospitals to operate.  In most instances, VHA can help
 members reduce costs by an average of 14 percent.
     "Since heart disease is the number one killer in America, many hospitals
 feel obligated to provide an advanced level of cardiac care, despite how
 expensive it is," said Peter Plantes, M.D., vice president and head of VHA's
 Cardiovascular Services initiative.  "VHA is helping members maximize every
 opportunity to save money without compromising the quality of the care."
     VHA found that one key to cutting costs is through better utilization of
 the supply contracts managed by VHA's supply company, Novation.  VHA helps
 members benchmark their overall supply costs for cardiovascular procedures
 against other members and available national data.  VHA's clinical consulting
 team, which includes physicians, nurses and pharmacists, works with members
 and their clinicians to help hospitals improve how they use supplies to
 achieve even greater savings.
     Abington (Pa.) Memorial Hospital, a 508-bed regional teaching hospital,
 worked with VHA in a strategic supply cost management program.  As a result,
 Abington saved $2.4 million across the organization in less than three years.
 The hospital began by engaging a physician champion for the program and
 forming two physician-led work groups, which also included VHA experts, to
 explore and recommend standardization opportunities and improve utilization of
 cardiology devices.  In cardiovascular services, Abington saved $1.1 million
 (part of the $2.4 million in overall savings) over a two-year period by
 working with VHA and Novation staff, and the contracted suppliers to reduce
 the cost of cardiac stents, implantable cardioverter defibrillators and
     VHA members purchase approximately $3.2 billion in cardiology products
 annually, including more than $2.2 billion through Novation contracts.
     About VHA
     VHA Inc. is a national cooperative of leading not-for-profit health care
 organizations that work together to improve the health of the communities they
 serve.  Through the cooperative, members benefit from resources to help them
 identify, integrate and implement best practices to improve clinical,
 operational and financial performance.  As a cooperative, VHA distributes
 income annually to members based on their participation.  Based in Irving,
 Texas, with 18 offices across the U.S., VHA was named one of the "100 Best
 Companies to Work For" by Fortune in January 2004, for the fifth year in a
 row.  For more information, go to http://www.vha.com .
      Lynn Gentry