Our UVM Medical Center team accepting the award for supply chain excellence.

Our UVM Medical Center team accepting the award for supply chain excellence.

This week, UVM Medical Center was named the #2 academic medical center for supply chain effectiveness among the members of the UHC (University HealthSystem Consortium).

You may be reading that and scratching your head. What does supply chain have to do with patient care – and, what exactly is supply chain?

Supply chain refers to the contracting and procurement of goods and services for our organization, like medical supplies. But, that’s not all. It also includes logistics and the processing areas that deliver products and services at the right place and the right time to our staff. For example, that means an inpatient nurse has everything she needs – tools, software, supplies, protocols – to provide her patient with better, safer care. We like to call ourselves the caregivers to the caregivers.

Over the last two years of the UHC study, we have been in the top five, at #1 and #2 respectively. That means that we have sustained our cost-saving gains to attain high reliability for you. It means that we are highly resilient, highly vigilant, that we never let our guard down, that we learn from our mistakes, innovate, take chances and deliver success. Today, we celebrate and honor the front line staff, the knowledge experts, and the leaders across the UVM Medical Center – doctors, financial managers, nurses – who help us make it happen.

Working together, we have achieved as one team some incredible costs savings. In 2013, our cost savings totaled greater than $2.5 million.

This kind of achievement happens when we work together across our organization. For example:

  • Sid Hamilton, a senior contract specialist in Supply Chain at the UVM Medical Center, works closely with our Information Technology  (IT) team. He helped us reduce IT spending in software licensing and purchased services by greater than $500,000 on an annualized basis this past year.
  • Harold Dauerman, MD, cardiologist, served as a subject matter expert at the Northeast Purchasing Coalition initiative involving drug-eluting stents. He helped us negotiate and establish benchmark pricing that reduced our cost for drug-eluding cardiac stents by $400,000 on an annualized basis. All in all, we have worked with Cardiology across the UVM Medical Center Partners to achieve greater than $1 million in annualized cost savings.
  • Our supply chain operations council includes employees and supply chain leaders from across the UVM Medical Center Partners, clinical and non-clinical employees. It is led by Whitney Taylor, Director of Purchasing, and Contracting with close support from Dennis Aman, Director of Clinical Resource Management CVMC; John Collinsworth, Director of Logistics; and Karen Neenan, Director of Materials Management at CVPH Medical Center. This team brought in greater than $2.5 million in cost savings.

Cost management, enhanced business processes, a unified supply chain organization and meaningful informatics are the tenets that helped us achieve this honor of being one of the most cost-efficient academic medical centers in supply purchasing, and they will drive our sustained success, powered by the incredible people at the UVM Medical Center who make it happen every day.

Charlie Miceli, CPM, is Vice President of Supply Chain and Information Systems at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

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