Three of the most pressing pain points physicians currently face—and areas where GPOs can help—are:
- Product shortages, including pharmaceuticals.
- Personnel shortages, including nurses.
- Compensating for reimbursement changes resulting from the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).
SOLVING PRODUCT SHORTAGES
“There are many reasons for shortages, but most are caused by recalls, quality issues, a minimal number of suppliers, a shortage of raw materials, thin margins in generic-drug manufacturing that resulted in some companies getting out of the business and natural disasters impacting manufacturing,” says Amy Snow, senior director, sales and business development, for Provista.
For example, when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in the fall of 2017, it destroyed a manufacturer of the sodium chloride/saline solution that’s used in IVs. The saline solution replenishes fluids due to dehydration and is used for other medical purposes. More than a year later, the healthcare industry is still feeling the squeeze caused by the loss of the manufacturer.
“Fewer manufacturers making products really impacts us,” Snow adds. “You can’t simply bring in products or drugs from Europe or somewhere else because standards might be different, and they have to go through FDA approval. This impacts non-acute markets particularly hard because hospitals often get products first.”
Drug shortages add an estimated $230 million to U.S. drug costs each year. Provista helps solve product and pharmaceutical shortages through its private label Novaplus® program. It provides access to more than 15,000 items, including those in high-demand categories such as anesthesia, business products and services, diagnostic imaging and food.
“By utilizing our Novaplus program, clinics have access to products that are held specifically for our members,” Snow explains. “In addition, Novaplus ensures fill rates and offers price protections so members won’t experience spikes in pricing if the rest of the industry is experiencing a shortage.”
The program is particularly valuable for helping solve pharmaceutical shortages. It offers hundreds of drugs, including shortage-prone generic injectables and critical-access medicines. “The Novaplus pharmacy portfolio allows members access to products on the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) drug shortage list,” Snow adds. “Novaplus provides an average 88% fill rate on the top 25 drugs on the current shortage list.”