VHA Helps Hospitals Reduce Cardiovascular Costs By 14 Percent; Supply Initiative Identifies $120 Million In Potential Savings For VHA Members

IRVING, Texas, Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- VHA Inc., the national health care alliance, has helped nearly 400 member hospitals identify more than $120 million in potential savings for cardiovascular services, one of the most costly services for hospitals to operate. In most instances, VHA can help members reduce costs by an average of 14 percent.

"Since heart disease is the number one killer in America, many hospitals feel obligated to provide an advanced level of cardiac care, despite how expensive it is," said Peter Plantes, M.D., vice president and head of VHA's Cardiovascular Services initiative. "VHA is helping members maximize every opportunity to save money without compromising the quality of the care."

VHA found that one key to cutting costs is through better utilization of the supply contracts managed by VHA's supply company, Novation. VHA helps members benchmark their overall supply costs for cardiovascular procedures against other members and available national data. VHA's clinical consulting team, which includes physicians, nurses and pharmacists, works with members and their clinicians to help hospitals improve how they use supplies to achieve even greater savings.

Abington (Pa.) Memorial Hospital, a 508-bed regional teaching hospital, worked with VHA in a strategic supply cost management program. As a result, Abington saved $2.4 million across the organization in less than three years. The hospital began by engaging a physician champion for the program and forming two physician-led work groups, which also included VHA experts, to explore and recommend standardization opportunities and improve utilization of cardiology devices. In cardiovascular services, Abington saved $1.1 million (part of the $2.4 million in overall savings) over a two-year period by working with VHA and Novation staff, and the contracted suppliers to reduce the cost of cardiac stents, implantable cardioverter defibrillators and pacemakers.

VHA members purchase approximately $3.2 billion in cardiology products annually, including more than $2.2 billion through Novation contracts.

About VHA

VHA Inc. is a national cooperative of leading not-for-profit health care organizations that work together to improve the health of the communities they serve. Through the cooperative, members benefit from resources to help them identify, integrate and implement best practices to improve clinical, operational and financial performance. As a cooperative, VHA distributes income annually to members based on their participation. Based in Irving, Texas, with 18 offices across the U.S., VHA was named one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" by Fortune in January 2004, for the fifth year in a row. For more information, go to http://www.vha.com/ .

Contact: Lynn Gentry 972/830-0798 lgentry@vha.com

VHA Inc.

CONTACT: Lynn Gentry of VHA Inc., +1-972-830-0798, or lgentry@vha.com

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