ASC Supply Chain Strategy: Materials Management

October 5, 2018 / NueHealth Marketing

See how the NueHealth team leads facilities in this competitive changing environment

With payer pocketbooks tightening, ASC and surgical hospital administrators must examine every department in their facility for opportunities for savings to ensure they’re staying as competitive as possible.

NueHealth’s Sheila Knoepke, Vice President of Supply Chain, recently participated in a September 19, 2018 webinar hosted by Becker’s Hospital ReviewDuring the webinar Sheila discussed how ASCs could stay competitive in today’s healthcare landscape by implementing cost-effective distribution strategies.

Challenges

As the head of supply chain at NueHealth, Sheila works to address a number of industry challenges to ensure NueHealth partners remain competitive. With 49 surgical centers and hospitals in its portfolio, NueHealth facilities perform 15,000 surgeries monthly through a network of more than 2,500 independent physicians.

The challenges large and small range from changes in national regulation to specific issues facing individual centers. For example, a November 2017 CMS ruling changed the definition of what a hospital is. Per CMS, hospitals must now be primarily engaged in inpatient care, meaning a patient must be formally admitted, occupy a bed, and have a care plan that spans at least two midnights. “The majority of our patients are in good health with little or no comorbidities,” Sheila explained. “As a result, our average length of stay is less than two days during the week and we frequently do not have any patients on Sundays.” Because of this, NueHealth was forced to change the classification of one of its facilities from a specialty hospital to an ASC to comply with the new CMS definition.

Another impact is the new Chinese tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration, which has increased the cost of medical equipment. Thanks to Sheila’s expertise, she was able to contain supply costs for the NueHealth managed facilities “We need to look for every opportunity to save,” Sheila said.

Solutions

Sheila frequently turns to distribution partners in the NueHealth network to help our facilities become leaner and improve efficiency. ASC material managers are the unheralded jack-of-all-trades, wearing many hats and helping centers function better. Sheila works with NueHealth’s centers on material management to set inventory levels that aligned with center utilization. Because of her strong relationship with vendors, NueHealth stays on the cutting edge of innovation and issue resolution in the supply chain arena.

For example, a local ordinance limited when deliveries could be made to a NueHealth center, bumping the earliest delivery time from 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. The time difference impacted both delivery and staffing. Sheila explained the situation to her vendor, and the company changed truck routes and helped the center work with the impacted township to find a route which would allow the delivery to come in at 7 a.m.

Sheila said the truck route example is just one way NueHealth works with vendors to resolve challenges that individual locations may face. “NueHealth is always looking for new ways to save money and provide resources to support patient care and boost the bottom line.”

Learn more about NueHealth facilities management capabilities.