NVISION Gains Cost Savings & Streamlined Purchasing Through Membership in AdvantageTrust

With a strong commitment to patient care and positive patient outcomes, NVISION Eye Centers has grown steadily in recent years, operating 24 vision clinics and five ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) throughout Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and in Toronto, Canada.

But as NVISION has added clinics, each one continued to make its own decisions about supplier contracts. Every center was ordering from suppliers chosen by its staff, and there was no product standardization. “We felt like we were missing the boat by not leveraging our purchasing power,” says Stacy Gober,

Stacy Gober, RN, BSN

RN, BSN, senior director of ASC operations. “Each center managed its purchasing differently, and NVISION wasn’t benefiting from the potential discounts of bulk ordering across the enterprise. We decided it was time to overhaul our purchasing efforts and combine the volume from all of our locations.”

Hindsight is 20/20

HealthTrust had been the GPO for a company where NVISION’s Chief Financial Officer Greg Cunniff worked previously. Based on his positive experience with account director Rachel Strong Egan, Cunniff recommended HealthTrust membership for NVISION to both streamline its purchasing and save money. Cunniff and Gober then met with HealthTrust representatives, and according to Gober, “We immediately felt like it was the right fit.”

In August of 2017, NVISION joined AdvantageTrust, a division of HealthTrust, offering non-acute care providers access to industry-best pricing achieved by leveraging HealthTrust’s $30 billion of purchasing power. AdvantageTrust presents the information in a way that is most relevant to facilities outside of a hospital setting. Similar to NVISION, other non-acute care facilities often have a variety of staff conducting purchasing activities who typically aren’t supply chain or purchasing professionals. AdvantageTrust communicates information about discounts and terms in a user-friendly way that can be easily understood by anyone involved in placing orders for a facility.

Josh Moll, AdvantageTrust account manager, says, “With multiple, unique locations—the corporate headquarters, five surgery centers and 20-plus physician clinics—it was important to Stacy and Greg to have an experienced team to guide NVISION through the process of working with a GPO.”

Purchasing With a Vision

Because NVISION staff members were accustomed to making site-specific decisions about suppliers and products, moving to a companywide purchasing program presented some new opportunities. Existing staff had to learn how to select suppliers based on the concept of enterprisewide purchasing rather than handling orders in a vacuum. “To streamline our purchasing and accomplish the cost savings available to us by ordering in bulk, we had to centralize responsibility for the initiative,” Gober says.

NVISION hired a purchasing agent to work at the corporate level to manage the process and oversee supply orders. “Currently, this corporate employee is assisting in collating the data from all centers to realize the benefits of volume-based purchasing,” Gober adds. “Eventually, we anticipate moving purchasing responsibilities back to individual centers, and because of AdvantageTrust, the process will be much easier. Facility personnel will no longer have all of the legwork involved in comparing prices and selecting suppliers. Instead, they’ll simply order products from the suppliers contracted with HealthTrust.”

Seeing the Benefits

Despite the challenges of managing change, becoming a member of Advantage-Trust is already paying off for NVISION. The company has found cost savings in a variety of areas, including shipping charges, office supplies and medical-surgical items, especially sutures, Gober says.

AdvantageTrust analyzed NVISION’s office supply category and, through the Staples Advantage contract, helped the company achieve approximately 20 percent savings on many of the core items they purchase, Moll explains. On some office supplies, NVISION achieved savings of more than 50 percent. With the assistance of AdvantageTrust, NVISION also was able to access savings through many contracted suppliers such as Airgas, CDW, Henry Schein and Shred-it.

AdvantageTrust representatives Egan and Moll continue to work with NVISION leaders to focus on individual areas of spend and look for additional cost savings as well as ways to further streamline the purchasing process. According to Moll, NVISION recently inquired about new e-signature pads for all of its locations. And, the AdvantageTrust contracted supplier was able to provide a savings of approximately 10 percent.

In the coming months, NVISION plans to tackle information technology product categories. “We feel like we have just opened the door to the cost savings available, and we have a lot more work to do,” Gober says.

But cost savings haven’t been the only benefits of working with AdvantageTrust. NVISION staff members have also noticed that they are receiving better, more attentive service from suppliers and distributors since joining the GPO. “We feel like our suppliers are doing a better job for us now,” Gober adds. “And if there are any issues, we are able to lean on our HealthTrust account managers, and they make sure the suppliers are doing everything expected of them. Being part of a large purchasing organization has really made a difference in both costs and service.”

The improved service isn’t just an extra perk; it’s an expected benefit of membership in HealthTrust or AdvantageTrust. GPO representatives have deep relationships and experience with the suppliers on contract, and through those relationships, they require contracted suppliers to provide a certain level of service and attention. Moll adds, “As an AdvantageTrust member, NVISION will benefit from continued assistance, as our team works with each supplier to ensure NVISION’s connection to HealthTrust pricing and verify they are receiving the best service. AdvantageTrust will also collaborate with NVISION to help the organization develop purchasing best practices for all of its locations.”

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