Premier Health’s efforts to reduce health care costs earn distinction

DAYTON — Premier Health has received national recognition for the great strides it has made behind the scenes in preparing for patient care.

The hospital system has been recognized with the Vizient Excellence Award for Supply Chain Management. The award is given to hospitals and hospital systems that significantly improve the ways in which they manage their distribution, logistics or inventory.

“We’re doing everything we can to lower the cost of health care,” says Scott Shelton, Premier’s chief purchasing officer, who accepted the award on Thursday. “This is just another example of us working behind the scenes to make sure the supplies are on hand when needed, but also not overstocking and having excessive costs throughout the system.”

Premier’s supply-chain overhaul began with the cardiac catheter-lab inventory at Good Samaritan Hospital. In the past, many employees — including some clinical staff — had to keep tabs on supplies.

By turning that responsibility over to Premier’s supply-chain department, nurses and other clinical staff are now able to spend more time focusing on patient care and less time hunting for and managing supplies, said Mary Garman, the hospital’s chief operating officer.

“It’s been a highly collaborative, successful process,” Garman said.

Premier is now expanding that approach to its other hospitals, including Miami Valley Hospital (with an additional site at Miami Valley Hospital South), Atrium Medical Center and Upper Valley Medical Center. Management of the supply chain is also moving to other clinical departments of the Premier system, such as interventional radiology and surgery.

Premier hospitals spend tens of millions of dollars each year on supplies that are inventoried, more than half of which are now managed by Premier’s supply-chain department. That’s up from 15 percent a little more than a year ago. The new approach results in less waste, in part because better supply management means fewer products reach their expiration date and have to be discarded. Savings are expected to approach $1.5 million just by making the process of supplying clinical products to cardiac catheter labs more efficient across the entire health system.

“The work of our supply chain team to support our clinical operations and lower health-care costs mostly happens out of the public’s sight, so it’s nice to see them get this recognition,” said Jim Pancoast, CEO of Premier Health.

The award is presented by Vizient, Inc., which bills itself as the largest member-owned health-care company in the nation.

“It is exciting to see Premier’s innovative approach and how the results have contributed to the overall efficiency of their organization beyond traditional supply cost management activities,” said Scott Downing, an executive vice president with Vizient.

Based in Dayton, Premier Health ( has a mission to build healthier communities. The health system operates four hospitals, Miami Valley Hospital with an additional site at Miami Valley Hospital South, Good Samaritan Hospital, Atrium Medical Center and Upper Valley Medical Center. In addition, the health system offers a large primary and specialty care network, along with home health services. The health system is the second largest employer in the region and is the largest health care system in Southwest Ohio.