VHA Program Saves Bay Medical Center $160,000; Pharmacy Consulting Services Helps Hospital Reduce Drug Costs

Oct 06, 2004, 01:00 ET from VHA Inc.

    IRVING, Texas, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Bay Medical Center, located in
 Panama City, Fla., saved $160,000 in drug costs over a 12-month period by
 working with VHA Inc., a national health care cooperative that helps health
 care organizations improve their operational and clinical performance.
     "We wanted to reduce costs and improve the delivery of pharmacy services
 to patients," said Rick Moss, M.S., R. Ph., and manager of pharmacy at Bay
 Medical Center.
     As drug costs continue to spiral upward, many hospital pharmacy
 departments are challenged with developing creative ways to deliver safe,
 quality care while maintaining a healthy bottom line.  Bay Medical Center,
 working with VHA's Pharmacy Consulting Services, developed a plan to reduce
 costs associated with the use of the medication Epoetin, a drug used to
 increase the production of red blood cells.
     The hospital's pharmacy department implemented the "Appropriate Use
 Program," which assists the medical staff in dosing and assures appropriate
 use.  The hospital now uses individual syringes of Epoetin, instead of a
 multi-dose vial, for each patient, allowing the pharmacy to take advantage of
 the 8-10 percent overfill in the vial and reducing the amount of medication
 that is thrown out.  In addition, the hospital switched to subcutaneous
 dosing, away from intravenous dosing, which allowed for a decrease in the dose
 amount by one-third while maintaining appropriate hematocrit levels.
     To learn more about VHA's efforts to help hospitals reduce costs, go to
 http://www.vha.com .
     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 improve clinical, operational and financial performance.
 Through the VHA cooperative, members benefit from resources that assess
 critical needs and identify best practices to create customized solutions that
 lower costs and improve clinical quality.  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
     About Bay Medical -- Bay Medical Center is a 403-bed regional referral
 hospital serving a seven-county area in Florida's central panhandle.  It
 provides a wide range of medical-surgical services, including inpatient and
 outpatient surgery, the only open heart surgery program within 100 miles, the
 area's largest acute inpatient psychiatric treatment facility, a reputation
 for critical care excellence with state-of-the-art intensive care units,
 gastroenterology, a sleep disorders center, a dedicated pediatric unit,
 obstetrics and gynecology, radiation/oncology services, and 24-hour emergency
 services staffed with board certified emergency physicians.  The medical
 center also offers many support services including the childhood
 communications disorders clinic, rehabilitation facilities and respiratory
      Lynn Gentry                          Courtney Ware
      972/830/0798                         804/675/8168
      lgentry@vha.com                      cware@crtpr.com