Healthcare Purchasing Challenges During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Recently, nearly every U.S. state experienced a coronavirus pandemic shutdown lasting several months. As a result, lucrative elective medical procedures stopped bringing in much-needed revenue for community hospitals and healthcare providers. In addition to losing substantial income, the pandemic triggered major disruptions to the global hospital supply chain. Smaller hospitals soon ran short on key medications, personal protective equipment (PPE) and standard medical supplies normally shipped from China. Smaller hospitals can overcome many healthcare purchasing challenges simply by partnering with a group purchasing organization like CHC Supply Trust. But there are other issues that, much like the coronavirus pandemic itself, won’t go away anytime soon.

Dwindling Hospital Revenue Streams Lead to Unprecedented Staff Furloughs and Lay-Offs

The American Hospital Association recently conducted an in-depth analysis to gauge the coronavirus pandemic’s true financial impact. AHA’s report estimates that America’s hospitals and healthcare systems lost $202.6 billion just within a four-month period. About 161.4 billion of those losses come from cancelled surgeries, elective procedures, routine care and outpatient visits. The AHA report estimates the cost of certain medical supplies increased tenfold since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020. As a result of these dramatically higher healthcare purchasing costs, many hospitals chose to cut back on labor expenses. Pay cuts, layoffs, furloughs and reduced hours left fewer healthcare workers available to battle Covid-19 outbreaks in hospitals nationwide.

How GPOs Can Help Smaller Hospitals Overcome These Healthcare Purchasing Challenges

The biggest healthcare purchasing challenge most smaller hospitals now face is an inability to outbid competitors for overpriced supplies. GPOs like CHC Supply Trust are working to implement long-term supply chain solutions for client hospitals. Here are some healthcare purchasing solutions CHC Supply Trust is working on today:

  • Expanding our vendor network to add more domestic suppliers
  • Stockpiling certain items in order to meet just-in-time healthcare purchasing needs for hospitals
  • Ordering reusable instead of single-use items, when appropriate (such as gowns)

In addition, partnering with a GPO like CHC Supply Trust can help smaller hospitals maximize their healthcare purchasing power.

Federal Agency’s $200 Million Telehealth Fund Helps Providers Maximize Healthcare Purchasing Dollars

The coronavirus pandemic has already forced many smaller hospitals to make some difficult choices. Should hospitals hire additional nursing staff to meet increased demand during Covid-19? Or focus instead on basic healthcare purchasing needs, like paying up to 10x more for masks, gloves and gowns? The federal government’s new $200 million telehealth fund may help solve this dilemma for some healthcare providers. Any provider that purchased telemedicine equipment after March 13, 2020 can now apply for funding that covers those costs.

The FCC’s new Covid-19 Telehealth Program provides federal funding for connected care services to patients in their homes. To date, the FCC has approved more than $100 million in telehealth program applications. This will help healthcare providers see patients and maintain normal operations during the coronavirus pandemic, despite any reductions in staff. Federal funding for telemedicine can give smaller hospitals more healthcare purchasing power in a year when budgets are expected to shrink as much as 40 to 50 percent.

How Much Money Can Your Hospital Save?

If your hospital spends too much on healthcare purchasing costs, request a Complimentary Supply Spend Analysis. This analysis calculates how much your hospital can save through GPO access to the exact same items you purchase today. When you partner with a GPO like CHC Supply Trust, you get access to preferred pricing on items you already buy. CHC Supply Trust client hospitals usually save 10 to 20 percent annually over rates that other GPOs charge their members. Ready to learn how much money your hospital can save on healthcare purchasing costs? Contact us today!

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