Celebrating the 2023 Member Recognition Award recipients for their inspiring work

Each year, HealthTrust’s Member Recognition Awards honor members leading initiatives that bring their organizations to new heights of performance. This year’s awards, given at the annual HealthTrust University Conference in Las Vegas, highlight group and facility efforts for improving health measures, enhancing the clinician and patient experience, and better sustaining our environment. All members can learn lessons and gain inspiration for how to make positive changes within their own organization based on the examples these award winners share.

Clinical Excellence Award

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System | Baton Rouge, Louisiana

(L to R): Shantelle Graves, Senior Director, Respiratory Care and EEG; Benjamin Vetsch, Contract Program Manager; Blake Nolan, Director, Respiratory Therapy; Benjamin Willoughby, Director, Respiratory Therapy; Hollie Guillory, Director, Respiratory Therapy; Kim Bourgeois, Contract Program Manager

The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System (FMOLHS), a 10-hospital system in Mississippi and Louisiana, received the Clinical Excellence Award for improving its process to assess and monitor blood oxygen saturation across its patient population. Previously, the staff was concerned that their blood oxygen saturation devices and processes produced inconsistent readings. This resulted in patients withdrawing from monitoring efforts, and clinicians had difficulty gaining visibility into the important metrics. Clinicians switched some patients to more expensive specialty probes to ensure accurate monitoring. The clinical staff felt the systems in place impacted patient safety and the clinician experience.

The FMOLHS team tested Masimo’s pulse oximetry products at several of its hospitals and on multiple patient types: adult, neonate and pediatric patients in the medical and pediatric intensive care units. Those tested also included patient groups with questionable readings on the original technology. Clinicians used Masimo technology when unable to get a pulse oximetry reading with their original probes, following up with arterial blood gas (ABG) testing to confirm the Masimo technology results. In every case, the Masimo oxygen saturation readings correlated with follow-up ABG, and they could also detect blood oxygen readings when patients moved.

By changing to Masimo technology, FMOLHS is projected to save $300,000 on pulse oximetry sensors and software, while enhancing safety and improving the experience for both patients and clinicians. An additional $500,000 in annual savings is forecasted, partly through decreased lengths of stay and the avoidance of additional procedures.

“We are most proud that this better technology will be available to FMOLHS patients at all hospitals and emergency departments because the Materials Management team has helped lead the transition across all sites, not just a few locations,” says Shantelle Graves, BS, RRT, Senior Director of Respiratory Care and EEG at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. “The award recognizes safer care at a lower price for our patients, greater trust in the oxygen saturation displayed on the monitor and reliability during medical emergencies when it really counts.”

Innovation Award

WellSpan Health | York, Pennsylvania

(L to R): Greg Inman, Manager, Strategic Sourcing; Miranda Markle, Contract Administrator; Kelly Winegardner, Contract Administrator; Catherine Grein, Director, Strategic Sourcing; Cindy Rhoades, Contract Administrator

WellSpan Health earned the Innovation Award for developing a vendor scorecard that helps remove roadblocks and biases to allow for a more level playing field between vendors, including a more diverse vendor pool. The regional health system in central Pennsylvania includes eight hospitals and more than 220 patient care locations, covering a large span of specialties and services. WellSpan Health is a part of the AllSpire GPO.

When making vendor decisions in the past, WellSpan struggled to quantify non-financial criteria in RFPs and other bidding situations, finding the process too subjective and difficult to determine. WellSpan wanted a way to provide more opportunities for local and small vendors as well. The team worked with Valify, HealthTrust’s cost-management technology partner company exclusively dedicated to controlling purchased services expense, and Supplier IO, which runs a diverse supplier database, to create its Balanced Vendor Scorecard. The scorecard is a scalable solution that factors in non-financial criteria such as vendor size, diversity, risk mitigation, location and sustainability.

“Our team strives to inspire health and create solutions to best serve our patients, and the bid tool helps do that by aligning our organizational values and goals when selecting vendors,” says Jonathan Pumphrey, VP and Chief Supply Chain Officer at WellSpan Health. “This innovative scorecard presents a balanced, measurable approach to ensure a non-biased decision-making process while also including our ability to further engage a number of small, local, diverse vendors with an introspective review of sustainability.”

Operational Excellence Award

United Surgical Partners International | Dallas, Texas

(L to R): Jessica Rodriquez, Director, Supply Chain Operations; Al Padron, Director, Materials Management; Angela Walton, Director, Materials Management; Eric Hiam, Director, Materials Management; Mark Adkins, Director, Materials Management; Stormi Little, Director, DRE and Acquisitions; Tim Oliver, Director, Materials Management. Not pictured: Tim Burns, Director, Materials Management

United Surgical Partners International (USPI) received the Operational Excellence Award for demonstrating best practices in streamlining and maximizing supply chain operations and cost-savings initiatives. USPI was tasked with raising its compliance score in 2022 across all surgical centers. As the largest ambulatory surgery platform in the country, USPI operates more than 465 surgical facilities and is a division of Tenet Healthcare.

To raise compliance scores, USPI began by sharing HealthTrust conversion reports with sites in the field each quarter. These compliance opportunities were tracked on a dashboard, with staff members evaluating each potential conversion. If staff members determined a conversion was not possible, they had to provide a clinical reason. Senior leadership monitored and reported out the information on the dashboard. USPI’s Supply Chain team partnered with operational teams to hold weekly reviews and escalate support to address roadblocks.

During this initiative, USPI raised its compliance score from 64% in the second half of 2021 to 68% in the same period of 2022. USPI views compliance differently than other health organizations, as it is mainly a surgery center company. The company used an adjusted compliance score, removing arthroscopy, trauma and intraocular lens categories. This changed the compliance score from 74% to 79% for the same time periods (the second half of 2021 and 2022).

The results provided a shift in compliance change and savings, which is noteworthy, as their surgical facilities are physician owned. USPI saved millions of dollars while improving GPO contract compliance.

“We are very proud of the collaboration and teamwork between our internal stakeholders, physicians and vendors,” says Jessica Rodriguez, MBA, MS Pharm, Director, Supply Chain Operations at USPI. “Achieving these kinds of results involves collaboration across different teams and aligning efforts toward a common goal, which for us was to drive down supply chain costs while continuing to provide excellent care for our patients and communities.”

Outstanding Member Award

Franciscan Alliance | Mishawaka, Indiana

(L to R): Steve Ellis, VP, Supply Chain Services; Sarah Burdick, Admin Director, Strategic Sourcing; Dawn Thackston, Director, Value Analysis; Steven Hamilton, Admin Director, Supply Chain Logistics. Not pictured: David Blazo, VP, Pharmacy; Maria Gilliland, Admin Director, Procurement and Accounts Payable

Franciscan Alliance received the Outstanding Member Award for demonstrating exceptional performance improvement using HealthTrust initiatives, contract performance and adoption of new contract categories. Prior to 2021, Franciscan Alliance’s supply chain services were mostly handled locally, in a decentralized manner. With 12 hospitals and more than 400 outpatient locations in Indiana and Illinois, Franciscan Alliance’s Supply Chain division restructured its model to provide an integrated and centralized division with ministry-led subgroups focusing on procure to pay, strategic sourcing, value analysis and logistic operations. It also standardized the organization’s enterprise resource planning platform by using Workday. It created a supply chain governance model for value analysis and supply chain oversight, with C-suite leadership pitching in to remove barriers, improve system contract adoption and help with process changes.

In 2022, these initiatives generated $47 million in new GPO spend, an 11% growth over the prior year. Franciscan Alliance also realized $14.4 million in annualized savings for fiscal year 2022—higher than its $10 million savings target.

A notable achievement was the conversion of several surgical products to HealthTrust contracts, including endomechanical devices at $1.2 million in savings, and cardiac resynchronization therapy and drug eluting stents, saving $1.4 million. These were previously seen as untouchable opportunities or challenging physician preference items to convert. Franciscan Alliance saved an additional $1 million in annual markup savings and rebates by converting to acute/non-acute distribution with Medline, and $500,000 in document shredding by using a HealthTrust contracted supplier.

“Within Franciscan Alliance, we believe we have much more to do and remain committed to achieving positive results through our tenacity, organizational commitment and alignment with HealthTrust. Despite the challenges endured through the COVID-19 pandemic, we emerged stronger and better aligned to deal with the complex issues facing the healthcare industry,” says Steve Ellis, MBA, CMRP, VP, Supply Chain Services, Franciscan Alliance.

Pharmacy Excellence Award

Scripps Health | San Diego, California

(L to R): Aaron Ginsberg, Director of Centralized Pharmacy Services; Mai Borazjani, PharmD, Advanced Practice Pharmacist; Stephanie Erekuff, Revenue Cycle Application Specialist; Gabriela Loaiza, CPhT, Pharmacy Tech Specialist, Patient Care Coordinator; Tami McIntyre, CPhT, Pharmacy Tech Specialist, Patient Care Coordinator; Tony Jackson, AVP, Pharmacy Services; Pamela Letzkus, Senior Director, Pharmacy Acute Care

Scripps Health received the Pharmacy Excellence Award for its Medication Financial Assistance Program. This centralized initiative helps patients who lack drug or health insurance coverage or are unable to afford medications. Clinicians at Scripps Health, a San Diego-based health system with four hospitals and 28 outpatient centers and clinics, saw a need for this, as there were an alarming number of patients at risk of financial toxicity due to high out-of-pocket expenses for critically needed treatment and care. The goal of the Scripps Health program was to make needed medications available that would otherwise be too expensive or would leave the patient with a significant financial burden. This also includes Medicare seniors on a fixed income who are unable to afford the cost sharing and sometimes abandon therapy as a result.

While the organization had been working on this initiative for a number of years, during 2022, the Scripps Health Financial Assistance Team built an easy and convenient process in the electronic medical record (EMR) for providers, clinic staff, case managers and patients to request financial assistance support. The multidisciplinary team included pharmacy, IT, revenue cycle, ambulatory and hospital operational leadership. The team identified and acquired $2.4 million in outside funding from private grants and pharmaceutical manufacturers for self-administered medications, and $35.4 million in free drug or copay reductions to patients’ out-of-pocket expenses.

“The Medication Financial Assistance Team is a feel-good endeavor that has become self-funded and business savvy along the way. By applying for not-for-profit grants and free-drug programs, Scripps Health has been able to treat patients who otherwise may go without medication therapy or would result in non-payment for essential services,” says Aaron M. Ginsberg, PharmD, Director of Centralized Pharmacy Services at Scripps Health. “Within the first 12 months, the team has far exceeded any projected performance indicators.”

Social Stewardship—Sustainability Award

HCA Healthcare Mountain Division | Salt Lake City, Utah

(L to R): Filip Roos, M.D., Division Chief Medical Officer; Janet Zarndt, Division VP, Pharmacy Services; Samantha Leonard, Division Director, Clinical Pharmacy; Curtis Lancaster, Supply Chain CEO

HCA Healthcare’s Mountain Division received the Social Stewardship—Sustainability Award for lowering greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating its usage of one specific anesthesia product. As a leading health system in Utah, Idaho and Alaska, the Mountain Division of HCA Healthcare includes 11 hospitals, 10 standalone surgery centers and a freestanding emergency department.

Anesthesia gases are a significant contributor to green-house gas emissions related to healthcare, and desflurane has the worst environmental impact of all anesthesia gases. HCA Healthcare’s Mountain Division set a goal to remove this gas from all hospitals and surgery centers by October 2022. It succeeded, reducing its anesthetic gas carbon footprint by 95%. In addition, desflurane costs five times more than sevoflurane, so HCA Healthcare greatly reduced its anesthesia costs with this switch. The Mountain Division was the first division within HCA Healthcare to make this change, and its hospitals were the first in Idaho and Utah to do so.

“Driving emissions out of operating rooms at hospitals within the Mountain Division of HCA Healthcare by replacing desflurane with sevoflurane has resulted in the equivalent of removing 450 gas-burning vehicles per year from the road. That’s something we are very proud of,” says Filip Roos, M.D., MBA, FASE, Division Chief Medical Officer. Roos, an anesthesiologist, led the project and helped gain support from key leaders and physician champions at the sites.

“This recognition acknowledges that choices we make at work as clinicians can mean so much for the environment, especially compared to efforts made in our personal lives alone—whether it be recycling, the use of electric vehicles, solar panels and more. We will continue this journey by seeking opportunities to decrease emissions related to the second-most offensive medical gas—nitrous oxide,” Roos adds. He noted that they were able to drive this positive change in one month within the Mountain Division, and the initiative is now being scaled throughout the HCA Healthcare enterprise.

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