New Group Aims to Help Skilled Nursing Facilities Avoid Expensive Purchasing Missteps

A new non-profit society aims to improve education for purchasing directors at post-acute facilities, so they can make better decisions for both the bottom line — and for their long-term future.

The approach the organization — the Society for Healthcare Organization Procurement Professionals (SHOPP) — is taking is two-pronged, according to Ari Stawis, director of professional services and development at consulting firm Zimmet Healthcare Services Group.

Launched primarily by individuals who work in the post-acute procurement space, SHOPP formed with assistance from leaders at Zimmet and Prime Source GPO, a group purchasing organization.

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SHOPP is targeting individuals so they can enhance their own employment at their respective companies. But its leadership also hopes the group will be a boon for organizations and those who make purchases for the facility on a daily basis.

“From the organization’s perspective, they [now have] a more efficient, educated person handling their procurement process, which will hopefully help them with with increasing their reimbursement, as well as getting a better handle on their expenses,” Stawis said. “Not [necessarily] decreasing their expenses, but understanding and being more educated on their expenses, which is a very big difference.”

This is perhaps best illustrated by an example he heard from an operator, he told SNN. A nursing facility switched vendors for its coffee cups, saving $60,000 a year in the process.

“The director of purchasing said, ‘Great, I saved the facility $60,000 a year.’ Now what happens? When survey came, the surveyor came into the building and filled up coffee and burnt their hand, because the cup was so thin,” Stawis said. “[The surveyor] gave the facility a deficiency. After the entire survey, their facility went from a three-star building to a two-star building, and lost a managed care contract because of that.”

Health care purchasing expert Josh Silverberg, Zimmet president and CEO Marc Zimmet, and Prime Source CEO Michael Greenfield are the co-founders and leaders of SHOPP.

Stawis is Zimmet’s representative, leading education on behalf of the organization.

The society, which launched Tuesday, is attempting to “elevate the term of ‘procurement professional,'” Stawis said.

It’s also aiming to concretely improve education for these purchasing agents at post-acute facilities through events, quarterly webinars, and growing the online support forum run by co-founder Josh Silverberg from a little more than 100 people to more than 200 procurement staffers by 2021.

One of the overall objectives is to take purchasing agents — whose objective is typically to obtain the lowest-possible pricing within management directives focused on cost-control — and transform them into procurement professionals, Stawis said.

“One of the things that we are offering with SHOPP is actual certification,” he told SNN. “That will be further along in the process, but we’ll be offering procurement professionals certification, based on our webinars and education.”

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