Lafayette General Health (LGH) in Lafayette, LA, is a non-profit, community-owned regional health system serving south-central Louisiana by aligning with facilities across a 10-parish area known as Acadiana. Lafayette General Medical Center is the flagship; other owned or managed facilities include Lafayette General Surgical Hospital, St. Martin Hospital, University Hospital & Clinics, Acadia General Hospital, Abrom Kaplan Memorial Hospital and Lafayette General Southwest. Two hospitals provide graduate medical education. LGH also owns several physician groups and has clinical and operational affiliations with other area hospitals.
Three years ago, Lafayette General Health President David L. Callecod, FACHE, was attending a Premier conference. He inquired a fellow health system leader on how he had developed and grew his organization’s supply chain affiliate program. Callecod learned that his colleague had employed a dedicated individual to recruit, manage and oversee the program which helped effectively build it out. Based upon his findings, Callecod returned to Louisiana and informed his staff he wanted to use a similar approach to grow an LGH affiliate network.
That growth would support the system’s goal as stated by Callecod on the LGH website: “We are committed to working with our system physicians and hospital partners to keep patient care as local as possible. Reaching more people and broadening the range of essential services is part of our movement to provide ‘high-performance’ healthcare.”
In April 2013, Tom Broussard, a veteran supply chain executive, joined LGH as the affiliate program service coordinator. Throughout the next two years, Broussard worked with the LGH leadership team and the Premier, Inc., (NASDAQ: PINC) Senior Region Director, Kary LeBlanc, to recruit five new acute care supply chain affiliates. During that same period, LGH also acquired two hospitals and leased another, who also converted to Premier.
Hospitals that have joined LGH as Premier affiliates have seen supply savings of over 13 percent by converting from Novation, and between 25 percent and 35 percent by converting from Amerinet, according to Broussard. “Most had been buying supplies using Amerinet contracts through their relationship with the Louisiana Hospital Association,” said Broussard.
With Amerinet, the hospitals had purchased on tiers as stand-alone facilities. As Premier/LGH affiliates, they now access aggregated contracts through Premier’s ASCEND committed program, the Southern Premier Owners Group (SPOG) or the LGH portfolio. “We sign them up for whatever works best for them,” Broussard said.
“The savings are huge for the critical access facilities especially,” the supply chain veteran said. “In some cases it’s making the difference between them being in the black or in the red.”
One of the biggest successes, he noted, is Opelousas General Health System (OGHS), a 207-bed medical center, that joined in 2014. Since becoming a Premier/LGH affiliate, OGHS has saved over $1.5 million on 59 projects in six months. In addition to that, another $1.5 million in savings has been identified on 41 additional projects that are currently being worked with effort continuing to identify even further savings, adds Broussard.
All of the LGH critical access affiliates have benefitted from the SPOG reference lab contract with Lab Corp – with savings ranging between $40,000 and $100,000.
Broussard said the savings have been so impressive that Lafayette General system-wide will soon be making the switch to Lab Corp to save the health system $400,000 annually.
Because of the emphasis on acute care, Broussard has had little time to spend on other classes of trade – with one exception: Acadian Ambulance and Air Medical Services, one of the nation’s largest ambulance service companies, which is headquartered in Lafayette. A Premier affiliate since 2001, the company saved more than $200,000 by accessing Premier’s AT&T agreement for cell phone service.
“Because of our success, proven results and increasing references,” Broussard said, “potential supply chain affiliates are finding it very easy to justify converting GPO’s to become a Premier affiliate facility through Lafayette General Health.”