OC Reilly Blog: Time to Get Serious

By Ken Miller, Food Service Consultant, OC Reilly Inc.


No matter your politics, no matter your connection to the industry as a whole, no matter how you view the Affordable Care Act and its ramifications, there can be no more denying the fact that the world of health care has changed and will continue to change.

Much of that change affects patient care and the roles and reimbursements of health care providers.  But it also means that all aspects of the health care industry find themselves on the table now, all equally fair game for greater cost-efficiencies wherever possible.

In the May 12, 2014, issue of Modern Healthcare, Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and chief executive officer of Kaiser Permanente, wrote an article titled, “Health care affordability is our obligation.” 

In the story, Tyson said, “Translating this into actual dollars and cents is something we need to start doing now, because it won’t be an easy process.  It will mean coming face to face with some assumptions we’ve held for a long time, and rethinking them.  It will affect every part of the health care industry…It will demand a close look at how we organize the delivery of health care and where we provide it – including technology, diagnostic equipment, and specialized procedures.”

Tyson is correct in pointing out that a top-to-bottom review of all factors contributing to the cost of providing quality health care in the U.S. needs to begin, and right now.  That includes, as he noted in the article, areas like technology and equipment.  By extension that also should cover cost areas like food service, supplies, labor contracts, and dozens of additional line items that contribute to the overall cost of care.

As more health care systems accept the challenge and begin the process of evaluating their cost outlays across the board, the importance of including an objective, third-party perspective will become more apparent.  Supply chain issues represent a treasure hidden in plain sight – if you know where to look.

It’s time to get serious about controlling expenses while always guaranteeing quality patient care.  An independent supply chain expert can provide invaluable assistance.