3 Ways to Increase Savings for Surgery Center Supplies

Karen Smith, nursing director at Central Illinois Endoscopy Center in Peoria, Ill., describes three ways her GI/endoscopy-driven ASC has increased savings through improved materials management.

1. Increase your negotiating power. There are several ways ASCs can gain leverage in negotiations with suppliers over supply costs. Two ways to achieve greater leverage is by working with a larger hospital or taking a competitive pricing approach during negotiations. Central Illinois Endoscopy, previously had a service agreement with Methodist Medical Center in Peoria and had all accounts and pricing negotiations handled by the hospital, which is able to receive better price points for supplies than the ASC would have received on its own.

"Currently we are looking at taking over the purchasing portion of our service agreement," Ms. Smith says. "We gave McKesson, who we now have an agreement with, a list of our prices the hospital negotiated and we were able to retain those prices."

Ms. Smith says that although there were a few items the ASC pays more for now that prices are negotiated without the hospital, the lower prices for other supplies makes up for the difference. "For the rest of our instruments we are using a competitive approach.  We informed all of our instrument suppliers we would be taking over our ASC's purchasing, and basically if the physicians liked their equipment and there were no safety issues then the best price would be the one we go with," she says.  

2. Look for cheaper alternatives. Ms. Smith says Central Illinois Endoscopy is in the process of receiving approval to purchase a system for all endoscopy rooms that would take care of liquid waste, thereby saving money on costs tied to disposing red-bag or medical waste. Instead of spending thousands of dollars a month to have medical waste sent out of the ASC, this suctioning system would rid of medical waste by flushing it from the facility straight into a sewage drain. Ms. Smith says by investing in the system, Central Illinois Endoscopy will save more than $10,000 annually.

3. Monitor use and repair of equipment. ASCs should take strategic approaches to the use of their supplies and equipment, particularly if the facility experiences high patient volume leading to more wear-and-tear on expensive instruments and equipment. At Central Illinois Endoscopy, Ms. Smith runs monthly reports to see if any scopes are used more often than others. Scopes are rotated so that one is not used more frequently than others, allowing the ASC to avoid maintenance and repair costs.

"We have yearly competency training for all staff members on the cleaning, handling and care of our scopes. We also entered into a contract with Unitas to take care of all of our scope repair needs at a lower price," Ms. Smith says.

Learn more about Central Illinois Endoscopy Center.

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