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Healthcare GPO Response to COVID-19 Pandemic Documented in Accountability Report

The Healthcare Group Purchasing Organization sector has played a critical role in assisting health systems respond to supply disruptions during the pandemic, while it continues to promote transparency, best practices, and competition within the healthcare supply chain, according to a new report issued by the Healthcare Group Purchasing Industry Initiative.

The 2021 Annual Public Accountability Report, the 15th report issued by the private watchdog group, also notes that the member GPO’s are assisting the introduction of new healthcare technology products and policing potential conflicts of interest while reducing healthcare costs.

Read The Report

This year’s Annual Report is a milestone not only because it represents 15 years of detailed disclosure and industry-wide self-regulation, but because it offers initial insights into the role of GPOs in responding to the extreme conditions and critical issues facing the healthcare supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Response

  • During the pandemic, HGPII members have taken a proactive and frequently decisive role in addressing problems in the healthcare supply chain, including: vetting new suppliers in the grey market of health products; loaning expertise and providing current analysis to federal and state public health authorities; identifying strategic drug shortages; functioning as a COVID-19 best practices clearinghouse for participating health systems; sharing innovative software applications and other information technology developed for the pandemic; and providing programming to train healthcare personnel.
  • Several GPOs have responded to concerns regarding supply chain resiliency by making direct capital investments in manufacturing concerns, and by partnering with established suppliers to promote expanded capacity for critical products like PPE.
  • GPOs have helped with the early identification of drug and therapeutic shortages during the pandemic and assisted in their mitigation.
“We are proud to produce the 15th annual report, displaying years of detailed disclosure and industry-wide self-regulation. Our survey demonstrates that GPO organizations have been a source of indispensable expertise during the pandemic, while maintaining a strong commitment to best business practices and an ethical healthcare supply chain.”

Philip S. English, HGPII National Coordinator

“This was an unprecedented year for all, specifically those in the healthcare community, and HGPII members displayed resilience during the pandemic. Our report shows that HGPII members have taken a proactive and frequently decisive role in addressing problems in the healthcare supply chain brought to light by COVID-19.”

Senator Byron Dorgan, HGPII National Co-Coordinator.

About the Report

  • The report is the result of a comprehensive independent overview of the group purchasing process, and it utilizes an established method involving disclosure, interviews, benchmark obligations, and training.
  • The report provides transparency, insights, and policy direction for those responsible for improving supply chain resiliency, as well as promoting ethical and professional cost control within the American healthcare system.
  • The HGPII report is the product of an ongoing process that involves an individual commitment by each member organization to implement ethics standards, employ best practices in contracting, address vendor grievances and offer appropriate administrative fee structures. HGPII is managed as an independent institution by Arent Fox LLP, with oversight by key industry leaders.

The Role of GPOs in Healthcare

Healthcare GPOs are business organizations that pool the purchasing volumes of member hospitals, health systems, and other providers like nursing homes, home healthcare agencies, and physicians. GPOs ensure the acquisition of the best and most cost-effective products and services and assist their members in improving the quality of care for patients and efficiencies throughout the supply chain.

Background: HGPII Members

Nine of the nation’s leading GPOs founded HGPII in 2005 to promote and monitor the best ethical and business practices in purchasing for hospitals and other healthcare providers.

The HGPII member GPOs are Acurity Inc., Capstone Health Alliance, Children’s Hospital Association (CHA), HealthTrust Purchasing Group, Health Procurement Solutions, LLC (HPS), Innovatix, LLC, Intalere, Inc., Premier, Inc., Texas Purchasing Coalition, Vizient, and Yankee Alliance. English and Dorgan are former Members of Congress from the US House of Representatives and the US Senate, respectively, and they co-chair the government relations practice at Arent Fox. Visit the HGPII website for additional commentary from English and Dorgan on this year’s report.

View Commentary from HGPII Steering Committee Chair David Hargraves,  HGPII Coordinator Philip S. English, and HGPII Co-Coordinator Byron Dorgan.

About Arent Fox
Founded in 1942, Arent Fox is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and the law intersect. With more than 450 lawyers and professionals, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to a global roster of corporations, governments, and trade associations.

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