What is a GPO?

Learn more about how group purchasing organizations (GPOs) help healthcare providers — such as hospitals, nursing homes, and home health agencies — realize cost savings and efficiencies.

Healthcare Supply Chain Expo

Supply chain and healthcare leaders, group purchasing executives, suppliers from across the continuum of care, and top policymakers convene at the premier event of the healthcare supply chain industry.

How GPOs are Helping to Combat Drug Shortages

GPOs play a vital role in helping hospitals limit the impact of drug shortages and ensuring the least possible disruption to patient care.

Welcome to Inside HSCA

A blog maintained by the Healthcare Supply Chain Association (HSCA), a broad-based trade association that represents 14 group purchasing organizations (GPOs). Learn more about HSCA and GPOs by visiting www.supplychainassociation.org

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

HEALTHCARE SUPPLY CHAIN ASSOCIATION (HSCA) WELCOMES CAPSTONE HEALTH ALLIANCE AS NEW MEMBER

The Healthcare Supply Chain Association (HSCA) today welcomed Asheville, North Carolina-based Capstone Health Alliance as a new member. Capstone President and CEO Tim Bugg will join the HSCA board of directors, lending his over 23 years of supply chain experience to the organization’s leadership body.

“HSCA members are healthcare industry leaders in delivering critical cost savings and efficiencies to America’s hospitals, long-term care facilities, surgery centers and clinics. HSCA is pleased to partner with Capstone to continue to tell the GPO story in Washington and around the country, and to help advocate for policy solutions that increase competition and innovation in the healthcare market,” said HSCA President and CEO Todd Ebert, R.Ph. “We are also happy to welcome Capstone President and CEO Tim Bugg to our board of directors, whose expertise will help GPOs continue to deliver billions in savings annually to healthcare providers, Medicare and Medicaid, and taxpayers. Capstone’s commitment to delivering cost savings to its provider members allows them to continue to focus on providing first-class care to patients.”

Capstone is one of the largest affiliated alliances in the southeast, with a membership of 85 health systems, 151 hospitals, and three group partnerships. Since 2000, Capstone has implemented over $210 million in savings for its members, with over 600 individual contracts. With its national GPO partner, Premier, Inc., Capstone is able to blend regional and national portfolios for outstanding contracting options.

“Capstone takes an innovative approach to identifying cost savings for our members. We are pleased to join an organization whose GPO members are dedicated to delivering the best products at the best value to healthcare providers and the patients they serve,” said Capstone President and CEO Tim Bugg. “The healthcare supply chain plays an essential role in safeguarding patient access to healthcare, and as a new HSCA member, Capstone looks forward to helping advance practices that will strengthen the supply chain and, ultimately, patient care.”


To read the full release, click here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

HSCA Announces Support for Legislation to Help Address Generic Drug Price Spikes

The Healthcare Supply Chain Association (HSCA) today announced its support for the “Increasing Competition in Pharmaceuticals Act” (S.2615), new legislation from Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) aimed at creating a more competitive generic drug marketplace.

 “The Increasing Competition in Pharmaceuticals Act (S.2615) is an important step toward fostering a more competitive generic drug marketplace and ensuring patient access to affordable medications,” said HSCA President and CEO Todd Ebert, R.Ph. “HSCA applauds Senators Collins and McCaskill for their leadership on S.2615 and we support the legislation’s mandated priority review of abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) for generic drugs made by just one manufacturer. Healthcare group purchasing organizations have a unique line of sight on the healthcare supply chain, and we look forward to continuing to serve as a resource to the Senate Special Committee on Aging as they work to advance S.2615.”

HSCA confirmed its support for the “Increasing Competition in Pharmaceuticals Act” in a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which also thanked the Senators for their ongoing work to reduce healthcare costs and safeguard patient and provider access to generic drugs. The letter went on to encourage the Committee to consider future enhancements to the legislation, in the form of a new subsection that also mandates priority review for generic injectable drugs with two or fewer manufacturers.

To read the full letter, click here


To read the full release, click here.

Monday, March 21, 2016

HSCA APPLAUDS THE FDA FOR AUTHORIZING EXPEDITED REVIEW OF GENERIC DRUG APPLICATIONS FOR ‘SOLE SOURCE’ PRODUCTS

HSCA’s President and CEO Todd Ebert, R.Ph., released the following statement today in response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decision to begin prioritizing abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) for generic drugs with only one manufacturer, sometimes known as “sole source” products:

“We applaud the FDA for taking this important first step to expand patient access to critical generic medications. Expediting the review and approval process for generic drugs with only one manufacturer will help increase competition in the market, mitigate generic drug price spikes, and alleviate future drug shortages.

“The Healthcare Supply Chain Association and our member GPOs have a unique line of sight into the causes of generic price spikes, and we are committed to reducing costs and increasing competition and innovation in the market. We have worked with Congress, FDA, and industry stakeholders to adopt practical solutions, including review prioritization, to help address generic price spikes.

“While the FDA decision to authorize expedited review of sole-source product applications will help foster competition in the generic drug market, there is more to be done to ensure generic medications are accessible and affordable to healthcare providers and patients who rely on them. We encourage Congress and FDA to prioritize review of generic drugs with two or fewer manufacturers, or where a price spike has already occurred, particularly in the generic injectable market. We look forward to continuing to work with bipartisan leaders from the Senate HELP and Special Aging Committees, as well as the FDA, on other solutions to generic drug access.”

To read Todd Ebert’s full statement on the FDA's decision to expedite ANDAs for sole source products, click here.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

HGPII Annual Report Reveals High Transparency, Accountability in Group Purchasing and Healthcare Supply Chain

The Healthcare Group Purchasing Industry Initiative (HGPII ), an independent organization dedicated to promoting transparency, accountability, ethics, and best practices in the healthcare group purchasing industry, has published its tenth Annual Report to the Public. The Annual Report – a national survey of group purchasing organization (GPO) business practices – found that all GPOs surveyed are providing high levels of transparency in their contracting processes and are adhering to strict codes of conduct to promote business ethics.  

According to the report, GPOs are actively promoting the availability of new innovative technologies in the healthcare marketplace, and consistently sponsoring programs to encourage greater diversity in the supply chain by promoting firms with minority ownership. The report also revealed that GPOS are sustaining a strong ethical culture across their purchasing activities, using both public standards and internal controls.  

“This report is a milestone in the ten- year history of HGPII that demonstrates that our members are rigorously adhering to their stated commitments to high standards of ethics, procedural fairness, and professionalism in providing their health service customers real savings through group purchasing,” said former Representative Phil English (R-PA), National Coordinator of HGPII. "Our review of the current business practices in the supply chain - based on comprehensive surveys and detailed direct interviews with people making the contracting decisions - demonstrates that HGPII participants are continuing to make solid, measurable progress in applying world class standards to the challenge of leveraging health care savings from a competitive market while maintaining quality.”

“The number one goal of healthcare group purchasing organizations is to provide value and cost-savings to member providers, so that they can best serve patients,” said Todd Ebert, R.Ph., President and CEO of the Healthcare Supply Chain Association. “HGPII’s annual review of the healthcare group purchasing industry reaffirms that GPOs are transparent, accountable, and promoting competition in the market. By doing so, GPOs are creating critical savings and efficiencies for their acute and non-acute member providers – including the over 98 percent of all US hospitals that utilize a GPO.”

HGPII monitors supply chain practices by reviewing member questionnaires, conducting follow-up interviews and select field reviews, and conducting an annual industry-wide best practices conference with mandatory member attendance. HGPII is managed as an independent institution by Arent Fox LLP, with oversight by key industry leaders. In addition to former Rep. English, HGPII is co-coordinated by former Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and former Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT).

All Healthcare Supply Chain Association (HSCA) member GPOs are also members of HGPII. GPO Executives decided to create HGPII as a platform to promote the development of transparency and accountability standards, business practices, and ethics in the healthcare supply chain. Since its inception, HGPII member-GPOs have conformed to consistently high standards in their bidding and awards process, and have identified transparency in these contracts as an organizational priority.


Read the full HGPII Annual Report here.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

HSCA COMMENTS ON SENATE HELP COMMITTEE HEARING ON GENERIC DRUG ACCESS & PRICE SPIKES

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee is scheduled to have a hearing today on “Generic Drug User Fee Amendments: Accelerating Patient Access to Generic Drugs.” HSCA President and CEO Todd Ebert, R.Ph., released the following statement on the hearing, access to critical generic drugs, and steps that Congress could take to help mitigate significant price spikes in the generic drug marketplace: 

 “We applaud the Senate HELP Committee for their commitment to mitigating price spikes in the generic drug market – a trend that poses enormous risk to public health by jeopardizing patient access to affordable healthcare. While the Generic Drug User Fee Act (GDUFA) was designed to speed public access to – and reduce costs of – generic drugs, since its implementation the FDA backlog for new generic drugs has grown, and some opportunistic suppliers have driven up their prices as a result of little-to-no competition. It is essential that new manufacturers are able to enter the market in a timely manner to help increase competition and reduce costs. We urge Congress to give FDA authority to expedite review and approval for new generic drugs that have the potential to mitigate price spikes and help ensure access to critical medications for healthcare providers and the patients they serve.”

 The current backlog of Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDA) at the FDA is compounding the problem of price spikes. Since the Generic Drug User Fee Act was negotiated in FY2011, the FDA’s backlog has continually risen along with its median review time for product approval. A private sector survey revealed that prior to GDUFA, review time for ANDAs was 30 months. In FY2013, that time had risen to 36 months, and in FY2014 was estimated to be 42 months. A wait time of 3-4 years stifles the ability of some manufacturers who want to reintroduce competition to the generic market.

Ebert’s statement is the most recent effort in HSCA’s history of working with Congress to address and prevent generic drug price spikes. The organization previously sent letters to the Senate Special Committee on Aging and the Senate HELP Committee encouraging Congress to take specific action to help ensure a healthy generic market and safeguard patient and provider access to essential medications.

To read Todd Ebert’s full statement on the Senate HELP Committee’s January 28 hearing, click here.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

HSCA Names Veteran GPO Exec. Curt Miller to Lead Committee on Healthcare eStandards (CHeS)

The Healthcare Supply Chain Association (HSCA) today announced that it has named veteran supply chain executive Curt Miller as Executive Director of the organization’s Committee for Healthcare eStandards (CHeS). Miller previously served as Chief Information Officer for Amerinet, Inc., where for ten years he was responsible for the company’s information systems strategy, application development, network infrastructure, data management, and unified communications.

“For over 30 years Curt Miller has been at the forefront of innovation and improvement for group purchasing organizations, advancing healthcare e-standards that are improving the entire industry by opening up the ways manufacturers, providers, and patients communicate with one another,” said HSCA President and CEO Todd Ebert, R.Ph. “Curt Miller’s expertise and proven record make him the ideal leader for CHeS and for moving the entire healthcare industry toward a more interconnected and efficient supply chain – ultimately improving provider operations and patient care.”

“Adoption of comprehensive healthcare e-standards will make device, provider, and patient data accessible and interoperable across systems – enabling use and sharing of information to help providers, manufacturers and distributors operate efficiently and make critical care decisions with the full spectrum of information,” said Curt Miller. “Working with CHeS as its Executive Director is a natural continuation of my previous efforts to help improve the healthcare supply chain. I’m excited for the opportunity to work with leaders across the industry to advance e-standards.”

CHeS is a leading force in the healthcare industry’s efforts to improve accuracy, efficiency, and safety through the application of electronic standards in the healthcare supply chain. The committee’s guiding vision is to accelerate the adoption, implementation, and active usage of industry-wide data standards for improving efficiencies throughout the healthcare supply chain.

To read the full HSCA press release, click here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

HSCA URGES CONGRESS TO TAKE ACTION TO ADDRESS GENERIC DRUG PRICE SPIKES

Price spikes in the generic drug market are jeopardizing provider and patient access to essential medicines. With their unique role and position in the healthcare supply chain, group purchasing organizations (GPOs) often see early warning signs of potential price spikes.

The Healthcare Supply Chain Association (HSCA) is urging Congress to address price spikes in the generic drug market. Today HSCA issued a press release about its efforts urging Congress to grant the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to expedite review and approval of new drug applications for products where there are two or fewer manufacturers, or in instances where there have already been price spikes.

“Significant recent price spikes in the generic drug market are an enormous risk to public health and are jeopardizing patient access to affordable healthcare,” said HSCA President and CEO Todd Ebert, R. Ph. “HSCA and its member group purchasing organizations are committed to lowering costs and increasing competition in the healthcare marketplace. We urge Congress to give FDA authority to expedite review and approval for new generic drugs that have the potential to mitigate price spikes and help ensure access to critical medications for healthcare providers and the patients they serve.”

Read the full press release here.