SAN BERNARDINO: County Contracts With Private Medical Supplier
Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton will open its 328-bed facility in October "just in time" to implement a new system for delivering medical supplies. The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports "[a]t $12,700 for a two-month trial period beginning Friday, and then for about $279,000 a year, San Bernardino County officials can begin using a private company to inventory and distribute medical and surgical supplies." Medical Center Director Charles Jervis "said the catalyst for the Just In Time inventory program was not the new hospital but rather a general goal to do a better job running county medical services," since having "an outside contractor run the program proved to be more economical because the county otherwise would have been forced to hire more people." Jervis said, "We're forced to keep too much inventory on hand. It's money that's sitting in the bank, a lot of money sitting there not doing anything."
Savings And More
The Daily Bulletin reports the "[t]he county will get $500,000 up front and save at least $300,000 a year if the Board of Supervisors approves a three-year contract ... with Temecula-based Professional Hospital Supply," and for "$500,000, the company will buy back about two weeks' worth of medical supplies now in stock at five clinics throughout the county." PHS officials will keep a sufficient amount of supplies at each facility in order "to meet its needs for a 72-hour period." The county will reassign inventory employees to new positions at PHS. A professor of business organization management at the University of Southern California "cautioned that there are risks associated with the cost-saving program." Professor Philip Birnbaum-More said, "If a company outsources from a supplier, they are giving that supplier tremendous power. There's a risk the supplier will not conform to the contract." But Jim Kaufman, director of support services for UC San Diego Medical Center, "said he's negotiating a two-year extension on his contract with PHS because after three years the hospital is saving about $500,000 a year. And PHS officials have done a better job of making sure supplies are in stock than hospital employees did" (Page, 4/28).