"It's a mixed bag," Smith says. "Some of the vendors have come back with some incredible savings. Some are pushing back every way they can. They take offense and we've tried to be very clear with them that this is not personal. We explained Con$erv, what our task is, and why we specifically ask to speak with them. So it's a bit uncomfortable at times, but for the most part the vendors know where healthcare is going."
The committee has been in place only since July 1, but already is gaining momentum, Smith says.
"We thought that we had things covered pretty well before but knew that we did not have a process that was really as defined as it is now," Smith says. "We have identified 38 potential opportunities and have assigned each to a particular committee member and we're working through those to try to cause change as quickly as possible. We've only got about seven months left in our fiscal year to accumulate savings on that. The clock is ticking."
This article appears in the January/February 2013 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.