The ACA’s Impact on the Healthcare Supply Chain

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The supply chain represents as much as 40 percent of the operating costs of hospitals, the second-largest expense after labor. The average hospital carries 8,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) of in-house inventory and owns up to 35,000 SKUs end-to-end. The supplies a hospital requires run the spectrum from medication, artificial knees, operating tables, wheelchairs, intravenous solutions, wound dressings to bed linens, cleaning supplies and cafeteria food. Healthcare supply chain is a key tool for controlling costs and improving care

So it makes sense that hospitals would look for the best deal when deciding which syringes to buy. The question of which syringe really is the most cost effective, however, may be more complex than a simple matter of pricing.

A safety syringe, for example, might cost a few cents more, but also could reduce needle sticks, which can cost more than $3,000 per incident and potentially turn a staff member into a patient, officials of a supply chain professional group within the American Hospital Association explained.

“It’s possible that you might pay a couple of percentage points more for a different product, but overall, by reducing the number of needle sticks in your organization, you’ve reduced cost by 10 percent, 15 percent,” Christopher O’Connor, chairman of the Association for Healthcare Resources & Materials Management (AHRMM).

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By Dinah Wisenberg Brin