Now is the Time to Hit the “Collaboration” Play Button for Healthcare Reform

Many vendors and hospitals that were on pre-election “pause” for purchasing and policy decisions should now push “play”.  As healthcare reform moves forward in 2013, strong vendor and hospital relationships will be critical to achieving an integrated, patient-focused approach to care.

Transparency and information control are essential in forming the collaborative and strategic relationships necessary to meet goals for this integrated patient-focused approach—namely, providing the highest quality of health care with lowered, rational costs. Michele Madison, a partner in the Healthcare Practice of Morris, Manning and Martin, LLP recently shared her thoughts on how the election will impact the relationship between vendors and hospitals.

The Healthcare Reform Act strategies to drive lower costs and higher quality outcomes are driving providers to integrate the clinical experience of the patient into one delivery system. Specifically, the goal is to provide care through an integrated patient-focused approach that will result in the best outcome for the patient and reduce readmissions or unnecessary visits. Therefore, healthcare providers are evaluating the vendors, suppliers, participating physicians and equipment providers to determine who has the highest quality outcomes with lowest costs. If the healthcare providers and the suppliers can collaborate to ensure the efficient use of supplies and provide care through patient centered protocols, the patient should receive high quality care while reducing the associated costs.” 

In 2013, healthcare providers will step up their efforts to find vendors whose products and services can help them achieve higher scores relative to new metrics driven by healthcare reform. Vendors should actively seek out and participate in sophisticated healthcare sourcing, such as Vendormate’s Medzo marketplace.

Read Ms. Madison’s full blog post: “Election Impact on Integration Strategies

Post by Gary Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer, Vendormate, Inc.

January 10, 2013 at 3:42 pm 2 comments

Don’t Want a Shot? Titers May Fulfill Requirements

Titers come in handy when a rep has completed Hepatitis B, Varicella and MMR immunizations but can’t locate the vaccination records. Rather than repeat these immunizations, the rep can fulfill the requirements by providing titers, a less painful solution.

A titer test, also known as a Blood Titer or Antibody Titer, is a laboratory test that measures the concentration of antibodies in the blood. Results from this test indicate whether or not a rep has sufficient immunity to each disease that is tested. When submitting this document to fulfill the requirement, the document should clearly indicate immunity to the disease(s) and be signed by the authorized person at the lab or testing center.  (Note: If a titer result is provided for the MMR requirement, the document must list immunity to Mumps, Measles AND Rubella.)

Need more info on regular requirements for vaccinations for Hepatitis B, Varicella, and MMR? See the Quick Guide.


November 8, 2012 at 6:29 pm 4 comments

For Healthcare Reps: Tips for Checking the Insurance Box Faster

“There’s no doubt about it,” said Kelly Plott, Document Specialist with Vendormate’s credentialing services, “liability insurance is one of the most confusing credentialing requirements for our vendors. Insurance liability is difficult to understand because of all the various types of insurance; couple that with the fact each hospital has different requirements and you can imagine the complexity.”

Based on her work with our vendors, Kelly put together the following tips to help vendors manage their liability insurance documents.

  • Read each hospital’s requirements on liability insurance before uploading your company’s Certificate of Insurance (COI).
  • Call your hospital contact if you have questions regarding their liability insurance requirements.
  • Make sure you have your company’s most current COI —  and that it’s not expired.
  • Ask Vendormate to activate the company document lock-down function so that other reps in your company can’t upload inaccurate COIs.  (This service is available to vendor companies with corporate plans.)

Know the answers to these questions to avoid extra work:

  1. What lines of insurance coverage does the hospital require (Commercial General Liability, Completed Products Liability, Workers’ Compensation & Employers’ Liability, etc.)?
  2. What are the hospital’s minimum coverage requirements?
  3. Does the hospital require an ACORD COI naming them as the certificate holder? Does the policy have the hospital’s complete mailing address?   Note: Many hospitals accept a generic COI or Memorandum of Insurance showing the company is properly insured without naming a specific certificate holder.
  4. If your rep is independent, you probably don’t need Workers’ Compensation.  Find out if the hospital will accept a letter of attestation or a State issued Certificate of Exemption to waive the Worker’s Comp requirements for the rep.

See this list of hospitals that currently have special or unique requirements for liability insurance.  As noted earlier, double check each hospital’s policy before uploading a COI.

October 12, 2012 at 5:15 pm 2 comments

Using Attestations for Criminal Background Checks

Many hospitals reference The Joint Commission (TJC) HR.01.02.05, Elements of Performance (EP) 1-5, to make decisions about staff job responsibilities, which include:

  • Required licensure, certification, or registration verification
  • Required credentials verification
  • Education and experience verification
  • Criminal background check
  • Applicable health screenings

TJC HR.01.02.05, EP7 states that “before providing care, treatment, and services, the hospital confirms that non-employees who are brought into the hospital by a licensed independent practitioner to provide care, treatment, or services have the same qualifications and competencies required of employed individuals performing the same or similar services at the hospital.”

Some hospitals have applied this to many vendor representatives.  In July of 2012, the Joint Commission clarified that this does not apply to health care industry representatives, as they are not under the direction of a licensed independent practitioner.

However, hospitals can still ensure that vendor representatives meet certain requirements without violating their privacy. Instead of requiring an actual background check, hospitals may require an attestation that the background check has been successfully completed by their employer. For hospitals that do this, Vendormate recommends that the representative submit a letter from their company attesting that background verification was performed upon hire. Typically this includes a criminal background check, sex offender registry check, or drug screen per state regulations.

Vendormate always recommends that hospitals evaluate staff requirements carefully when deciding which ones make sense to pass along to the vendor community.

Guest Post by Katy Ford, Director of Operations, Vendormate

October 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm 4 comments

Insights from a Supply Chain Leader

The Journal of Healthcare Contracting recently posted this article, “Excellent Insights from Supply Chain Leader, Brent Johnson.”  While the whole interview is good, I want to re-post his list of five things supply chain execs should do to expand their contributions.

  1. Learn how to manage your GPO
  2. Work on more than med-surg products
  3. Do more than just product management
  4. Work on more than price
  5. Always think out of the box

One theme underpins all of these points — think bigger.  Think bigger about your hospital’s operations.  Think bigger about your hospital’s costs.  Think bigger about where the skills of supply chain professionals — evaluating true cost, defining and managing relationships, measuring outcomes — add value in your hospital.

From our perspective, we’ll add:  Think bigger about the information in your Vendormate vendor programs.

How does that list of registered (and unregistered) vendors relate to your spend and risk?  Where else can you apply that information to make better decisions?

We’ve already seen innovative hospitals use the data in new ways.  As a starting point to identify redundant supplier relationships. As a gateway to accurate and verified information for their AP system.  As fertile ground to source new, credentialed suppliers.

Just as we’re leveraging that data in Vendormate Contract Manager to make a smarter contract management process, we’re looking for other out of the box applications. We’ve got our own list of ideas.  Write your ideas in the comments section below.

August 30, 2012 at 6:49 pm 27 comments

4 Hospital Contract Management Essentials

Earlier this year, we launched Vendormate Contract Manager, a secure portal for storing, monitoring, and managing contracts and documents. Vendormate Contract Manager uniquely ties contracts and documents to our vendor credentialing data to improve visibility to the potential risks that vendors may create for the hospital

Through our conversations with customers across the country, we’ve identified these four essentials to a valuable contract management solution.

Know Your Vendors – The heart of a contract is a relationship between a buyer and a seller. That relationship must be built on trust created before the contract is signed.

Verify that the company you are about to do business with is who they say they are before you execute a contract. Check your vendor’s legal and financial health and ensure that they are not on any government watch lists. Accurate information on all companies you work with is vital to risk monitoring and control.

Make it Systematic – Too many hospitals have differing contracting processes and files scattered throughout the organization. That’s asking for information to bet lost and risk to rise.

Compile all contracts and associated documents into one secure online repository that is accessible by an unlimited number of users (with access controls, of course). This centralized electronic database allows you to be in control of your agreements.

Centralize Notifications, Notes and Other Documents – Relying on staff memory to keep up with milestones, such as rebates and renewals, is fine if no one ever changes jobs. But that’s not realistic. Get this important information off a single person’s computer — or worse, sticky notes.

Track all contract milestones and monitor contract compliance.  Maintain a complete contract history by entering notes. These will be used to receive interactive data and alerts on a contract which is essential for saving time and money.

Continually Monitor Vendor Status – The hospital today isn’t the same as it was last year. And certainly isn’t what it was three years ago. Changes happen to your vendors as well.

Be sure to monitor changes in the financial health of your vendors, in the sanction status of your vendors, as well as changes in staff and contact information.

It’s difficult to cover all these bases with a decentralized or home-grown approach. And even many third party contract management systems only do parts of this. Vendormate’s Contract manager takes care of all these aspects. It is a safe and secure place to store documents, contracts, and agreements while giving you the ability to search data about these agreements.

August 17, 2012 at 7:22 pm Leave a comment

Is it Time for Credentialing Consulting — for Vendors?

Five plus years ago, hospitals began looking to outside providers to help them manage their vendor information and vendor credentials.

Today with the majority of healthcare systems working with a vendor credentialing organization, Vendormate’s customer support agents and account managers field many calls from vendor customers about health system requirements.

We hear questions such as, “Why does one credentialing agency require certain training for everybody?” Or “Does ‘ABC’ credentialing agency pull a background check every other year?”  And we hear a lot about health system policies like “Can hospitals really do an annual review on my rep?”

We hear daily that the maze of policies is confusing and that the credentialing responsibilities typically fall on an unprepared sales team, an HR manager, or sales training.

As credentialing becomes more complex, we hear from our vendor customers that it is a challenge to ensure that reps are compliant at a given health system and able to conduct their business.

As one customer said to us, “This is not my core competency, I need help.”

The fastest and most efficient way to get help outside your core competency is to find a consultant — someone with expertise and experience you don’t have.

Hospitals did it by hiring vendor credentialing companies, like Vendormate, to help them capture, credential, and monitor vendor information.

Now, Vendormate is turning the same expertise and innovation that hospitals value to helping suppliers and vendors manage their own participation through our customized credentialing consulting services.

Vendormate entered the world of credentialing consulting on the supplier side to help vendors with:

  • Policy review guidelines to ensure reps aren’t signing off on policies that can impact the sales process or the corporate entity
  • Advocacy on behalf of vendors to hospitals to remove unreasonable requirements
  • Managing immunizations and training across all the reps in a company

Vendors don’t have to build a centralized document repository to house all their reps’ documents.  They can use ours.  Vendors don’t have to create spreadsheets, calendars, or databases of immunization and training expirations.  They can use Vendormate’s application.  Vendors don’t have to wonder when their reps accessed a healthcare facility.  They can check the Vendormate records directly.

Equally important, Vendormate can provide the extra hands and expertise to set up your in-house credentialing process.  To be a hot line to answer your field staff’s questions.  To create credentialing packets that meet hospital requirements.

At Vendormate, we want to bridge the credentialing requirements of suppliers and buyers and to make this as seamless as possible.  We provide support and products that can help with the overall management of credentialing and work to keep your reps compliant with Vendormate health systems or health systems managed by another credentialing agency.

We can do this effectively and efficiently to minimize the impact on your reps, so they can do what they were hired to do — sell and service products.

That’s Credentialing Consulting for Vendors.

Guest post by Amy Leiter, VP Vendor Services, Vendormate

June 1, 2012 at 7:05 pm 2 comments

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