IRVING, Texas, Nov. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- VHA Inc., the national health care cooperative, is helping hospitals shave millions from their pharmacy budgets by helping them plan and implement standardization and utilization programs for their most commonly-used drugs. VHA has a team of more than one dozen clinical pharmacists across the country that helps hospitals and health systems develop and implement plans to trim their growing pharmacy budgets. Today, pharmaceuticals represent 22 percent of hospitals' total supply budgets and medication costs are growing faster than total health care costs (12 percent to 7 percent), annually. Oftentimes, reimbursement for high-cost pharmaceuticals doesn't cover the cost of the drugs, so hospital pharmacy departments incur heavy losses. "We help hospitals save between 10 percent and 30 percent on the drugs they buy most often," said Bruce Weiner, senior director of pharmacy for VHA. "The net savings for the overall pharmacy budget differs for each organization, but the overall impact is still significant." At DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Ala., VHA's pharmacy team not only helped the organization identify and prioritize opportunities to reduce pharmacy costs, but also assisted with implementation. Ultimately, DCH saved more than $600,000 in 2004, with VHA's help. According to Tim Martin, director of pharmacy at DCH, "The clinical experience that VHA's pharmacy team brings to the table helped us manage objectives and approach this project with a clearer vision." VHA pharmacists work with hospital pharmacy teams to identify opportunities to standardize drugs based on existing prescription and drug administration patterns and the mix of patients in the hospitals and communities. Hospitals often were purchasing multiple drugs with similar chemical composition and clinical purpose. The VHA team demonstrates the clinical equivalency of these drugs and highlights the savings opportunities from standardizing on a single agent. The team also helps member hospitals benchmark their pharmacy purchasing patterns with other VHA members and examine drug costs in hospital departments that have high drug usage, such as intensive care units. The VHA pharmacy team focuses on high cost drug products and therapeutic categories. The following nine drug product categories commonly represent more than 60 percent of most hospital pharmacy budgets: -- Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors -- 5HT3 receptor antagonists, also called antiemetics -- Low molecular weight heparins -- Anticoagulants -- Antibiotics -- Antifungals -- Oncolytics -- Oncology adjuvants -- Critical Care Medications VHA leverages the bulk purchasing volume of member health care organizations to create purchasing contracts that help members lower their total supply costs. VHA members use the purchasing agreements that are managed by Novation, VHA's supply company. Using Novation agreements, VHA members, along with health care organizations that belong to the University HealthSystem Consortium, will purchase nearly $8 billion in pharmaceutical products in 2004. 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. VHA leverages the collective strength of the membership to help members improve clinical, operational and financial performance. Through the VHA cooperative, members benefit from resources to assess critical needs and identify best practices to create customized solutions to improve. As a cooperative, VHA distributes income annually to members based on their participation. Based in Irving, Texas, with 18 offices across the United States, VHA was named one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" by Fortune in January 2004, for the fifth year in a row. Contacts: Lynn Gentry Kristin Lucido VHA Inc. Novation 972/830-0798 972/581-5116 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
SOURCE VHA Inc.