In addition to Provista, there are many other group purchasing options. One is Physicians' Alliance of America (PAA), a nonprofit GPO based in Norcross, Ga., founded in 1992 by a handful of physicians worried about the rising costs of operating a practice.
In addition to lower purchasing costs, PAA promises networking opportunities. Becoming a member of a GPO allows you access to the organization's list of product and service providers, PAA says, and forming relationships with these vendors will give you an opportunity to attend events and other informal networking gatherings they provide.
A good GPO will prescreen and vet vendors, which lowers the risk of working with substandard companies. PAA advises looking for a GPO that offers free membership.
GPOs also can offer savings to practice employees. The GPO offered through Provista, for instance, offers practice employees discounts of up to 25% on cell phones.
"That's a significant savings that just comes as part of the GPO participation," Kitchens says. "It can build employee loyalty and help with staff retention."
This article appears in the January 2013 issue of Managed Care Contracting & Reimbursement Advisor.