You can save money with supplies and equipment

Two of your surgeons want you to purchase an expensive piece of technology, but you’re wary because you’re unsure how much they will use it. What should you do?

"Try to lease the new Whizz-bang Whatchamacallit’ one or two surgeons want, before buying," says Roger Pence, administrative director of Mount Nittany and president of FWI Healthcare, an Edgarton, OH-based consulting firm primarily for ambulatory health care providers. "Then you can determine their real volumes before committing to a capital purchase," he adds.

What should you do if you bought the latest technology, but the physician no longer has a need for it? "Sell it!" Pence says. "Unless your storeroom is cavernous and you plan on creating an antique medical equipment museum, get rid of what you don’t need or use." If you still are paying for it, selling it will reduce your expense and depreciation, he adds. "If it’s paid for, you may put some money back into the pot and free up storage space," Pence says.

Consider these other suggestions for savings:

• Explore using non-name brands.

SurgiCenter of Baltimore found a Sony printer paper for the EVIS system that goes with their Olympus Endoscopy System that is clinically comparable but costs less than the Olympus paper, according to says Rose Lambie, RN, MEd, CNOR, director of surgical services at the center. The managers also found less expensive 300 watt Zenon light bulbs for the system by going through another company, she says.

The printer paper and light bulbs come from Cadmet, a Malvern, PA-based distributor of video/ digital printing supplies and medical equipment. (For information, see resource below.)

The Sony print paper (product # UPC 5510) costs them $158 for 200 sheets, compared to $125 for 100 sheets for the brand-name product, Lambie says. The 300 watt Zenon bulb price (product # UPC 57000) costs them $350 vs. $514.80 for the name brand, she says.

• Order supplies weekly or biweekly.

At Mount Nittany Surgical Center in State College, PA, managers review the schedule for the upcoming cases, look at the amount of supplies on hand, and order accordingly, Pence says. "The physicians are aware of this process and are very conservative with the amount of supplies used," he says.

The system seems to work better than having a certain amount of supplies shipped each time, says Pence. "This also decreases the amount of storage space needed for the supplies and allows for better control over the cost of supplies," he notes.

The ASC should have minimal variety of drugs and supplies and nearly no duplicates, Pence suggests. This step reduces inventory and dollars.

"We periodically review the cost of each supply item our center uses to ensure it is as low as possible," Pence says.

• Consign your inventory.

Almost all inventory should be consigned, he says. "Why tie up the ASC’s dollars?" With consignment, the consigned items are paid for as they are used. "The manufacturer/supplier carries the inventory overhead," Pence says.

The same principal applies to just-in-time supply deliveries, he adds.


For more information, contact: