Ben Lauing, Imaging Performance Partnership
According to a study profiled in Monday’s Daily Briefing, physicians who could see the prices of common imaging exams were no less likely to order them.
For this year’s Imaging Performance Partnership research, we’ve spoken with many of you about utilization management. Changing payment environments necessitate decreased utilization, but there is no easy fix.
This study reinforces our belief that utilization management efforts must extend beyond simple measures like price transparency to more complex evaluations of ordering guidelines. In fact, the best solutions may involve clinical decision support systems that encompass appropriateness in conjunction with downstream cost and outcomes information.
In case you missed it: price transparency does not affect utilization
At this year's national meeting, we dedicated a portion of our discussion on securing imaging margins to reducing imaging supply costs. One idea we presented is the use of non-GPO arrangements in cases where working directly with vendors may offer better pricing. We've received a number of follow-up questions from members on this practice, so I wanted to provide some further comments.
The real potential to reduce costs by dropping your GPO lies in the negotiable rebates achieved by the "Discount Safe Harbor". Absent GPO affiliation, a health system can redirect the rebates, normally given to GPOs, directly to the participating institutions. In the cases we have researched involving larger health systems, these rebates can add up to as much as $7-9 million annually. Additionally, working outside the GPO requires institutions to strengthen their relationships with vendors to achieve ideal pricing. By customizing each contract to meet the needs of each vendor interaction, vendors are often more confident that the terms of the contract will be upheld. This can often lead to pricing that is well below the highest tiered pricing within the GPO.
Dropping the GPO: Pros and Cons