These facilities present an untapped opportunity for group purchasing organizations (GPOs). Traditionally, GPOs have not worked with behavioral and treatment organizations, but as these facilities grow and expand, they can rely on GPOs to meet their specialized needs. But first, GPOs must understand these companies’ businesses and identify pain points where they can provide the most value.
“We have to do everything from making sure we have products on contract that meet their specific risk-management needs to making sure contracted vendors are trained in the nuances of these facilities,” says Kirstin Watts, Provista sales executive.
MEETING BEHAVIOR AND ADDICTION FACILITIES IN THEIR SPACE
Behavioral and addiction facilities buy many low-cost commodity items, and those costs add up. Some products may seem unusual, such as coloring books and Play-Doh that patients use as part of their care. All products must meet a specific requirement—they cannot present a risk to patients.
“This requires making sure that everything that goes into a facility has been vetted,” Watts notes. “For example, a behavior health facility cannot use a spiral bound notebook because the spirals are a strangulation hazard, so notebooks have to be stitched. A standard hand sanitizer dispenser has a ligature risk, so we need ones that aren’t a risk.”
Product installation is also critical. Watts cites a coffee service supplier that installed a coffee machine in a behavioral facility, but didn’t bolt it to the counter. A patient picked up the machine and threw it across the room.
“It falls to everyone—the member, GPO and distributor—to be responsible for making sure products and installations meet facility’s needs,” Watts explains. “There has to be a system of checks and balances in place. Maybe it’s a standard operating procedure document for behavioral health.”