Message from our CEO

Thu, 12/01/2016

To say this has been a year packed with change would be a massive understatement. When it comes to healthcare supply chain, I can’t remember a year quite like 2016, and I’ve been a healthcare executive a long time. We saw several of the large national GPO players either merge, rebrand or shift focus (or in some cases, all of the above) to match the demands of legislation, new payment reimbursement models, quality improvement and innovation. This included our national GPO partner of many years, MedAssets. As you know, VHA/UHC merged, forming Vizient, Inc., which in turn acquired MedAssets to form the nation’s largest healthcare services company. As a result of this merger, APS now offers members a national portal as a Vizient Strategic Partner.

The healthcare industry has never seen such unprecedented change coupled with dense uncertainty. This change and uncertainty, along with the likelihood of repealing and replacing national healthcare reform legislation, will deeply affect every department within your organization, including supply chain. It will impact APS members, from our small 15-bed hospitals to our large metro area hospitals.

As the industry evolves around us, APS remains strong. Our Regional Services portfolio and Staffing Program continue to provide members distinct savings opportunities. Kansas and Missouri hospitals, regardless of national GPO affiliation, have no-cost access to some of the most favorable contracts in the market. Just a few of our most highly-beneficial and utilized agreements include our contracts with Airgas for medical and industrial gases, MedAssure for medical waste disposal services and our Natural Gas Program. We’ve developed innovative new relationships with vendors like HSS, Inc. to help hospitals pro-actively manage aggressive and violent patients, and TruBridge, which focuses on delivering business, consulting and managed IT solutions to rural healthcare providers. I’m proud APS continues working locally and regionally with vendors on behalf of our membership to secure exclusive agreements and add palpable value.

Workforce has and will continue to be a challenge for our members. The APS Staffing program has stepped up to the plate, providing reliable workforce solutions for our hospitals. I cannot understate the impact of the APS Staffing program. Since 2013, the program’s usage has increased 42%, and in the last year alone, more than 1 million staffed hours came through APS Staffing! That’s simply remarkable. More and more area hospitals are understanding the program’s value and savings, which grants hospitals no charge access to nearly 50 staffing agencies under one contract. We vet and audit our staffing agency partners yearly to ensure they meet the high standards of care and quality your patients deserve. In 2017 we’ll kick off an exclusive new program, shiftexpress, that provides a cloud-based staffing solution for non-clinical staffing needs. Right now, we’re testing this solution with a small handful of hospitals, and the feedback is extremely positive. Be on the lookout for a big shiftexpress kickoff early next year.

There’s a reason APS is well-known for its service and dedication. The APS Client Services team has worked throughout the year to ensure we’re not only maintaining a solid regional portfolio, but deepening discounts whenever possible with nationally contracted vendors. We achieve this through further negotiating national agreements to benefit our membership. Just one example is the distribution agreement with Medline for med-surg supplies. Our specialized Medline agreement brought APS members substantial, hard cost savings – all achieved by the combined purchasing power of APS members.

Our team also has tirelessly worked to ensure our Legacy MedAssets members have a national GPO transition that’s as seamless and painless as possible. This process extends well into next year as Vizient continues the monumental task of combining the largest contract portfolios in the industry, which it expects to complete by next fall. I’m impressed with the speed and flexibility Vizient has given our members in using Vizient agreements so APS members can expeditiously take advantage of available cost savings. I’m also encouraged by the dynamic technological tools Vizient has already implemented or is creating, giving hospitals analytics like they’ve never seen. Vizient’s commitment to collaboration among networks, hospitals, providers and other key stakeholders will tap into collective power to help our members increase savings and improve operational efficiencies beyond what we can achieve alone. APS members will have access to these key networks and collaborations to get the most benefit possible.

As new programs or initiatives come across your desk in 2017, I ask you to reach out to APS. Our hospital associations jointly own APS as a resource for ALL Kansas and Missouri hospitals. Let us evaluate your savings plans, perform cost studies and connect you to the right opportunities – and we offer these services and more at no charge.

As part of my job as CEO, I get the pleasure of traveling our beautiful states of Kansas and Missouri to attend meetings, conferences and visit with hospital administrators and staff. I’m honored to consistently hear praise about the exceptional service level the APS team provides hospitals, regardless of their size. I also receive heartfelt thanks from hospitals for our support of both KHA and MHA’s efforts to bring you quality, relevant educational opportunities, including the annual conventions. This means we are genuinely living and breathing our mission to advance the missions of KHA and MHA by serving as a dedicated advocate for hospitals and other healthcare organizations by reducing the expense of managing products and services and enhancing revenues.

As markets and regulations change around us, we remain committed to you and your goal to provide your communities the highest level of cost-effective care. I look forward to continuing our relationship with your organization to strengthen and elevate healthcare in our states. And if you don’t currently take advantage of all APS offers, please call us! We’ll gladly sit down with you in person to hear your needs and develop solutions together.

On behalf of the APS team and Board of Directors, I’d like to wish you, your staff and family the happiest of holidays and a wonderful 2017!