Or Else, What?

March 7, 2008 at 2:39 pm 2 comments

Worn out with the exasperation that only children can cause, I announced a new house rule of prepping all the bookbags and school equipment before bedtime and invoked the most dire consequence, “OR ELSE.”    

It had the desired effect… at least for the moment.   The bookbags and jackets were by the door, ready to go the next morning.   But the next night, jackets, bags, and papers were scattered throughout the house like blaze marks on a trail.       

It’s an important reminder as new policies are written.  “Or else” isn’t an incentive.  

UMass Memorial Medical has announced some of the most stringent barriers between physicians and makers of medical devices and pharmaceuticals.    Announced the week before Christmas and reported in The Boston Globe, these guidelines equate to no-free-lunch, no-gift, and no-free-samples directly to the decision-making staff.   The policy applies to all doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and clinical staff.   This policy goes beyond the common “disclosure” requirements of a relationship between a doctor and a medical marketer to an arm’s length requirement.   Doctors serving research or consulting roles for a pharmaceutical company can not serve on the formulary committee for that drug.  

It’s all designed to make the healthcare system be like Ceaser’s wife — above reproach. 

UMass isn’t the first.   It’s the latest in a string.   University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine reported its own program in PITTMED magazine.   Its program, which went into effect in mid-February, was praised by David Rothman of the Prescription Project because it includes “unabiguious enforcement mechanisms.”  

Our Take:  It’s the enforcement mechanism that policy makers sometimes overlook.    What are the consquences of non-compliance?   Some individual reps are bristling at the rise in vendor registrations.   They misinterpret these programs as a creative revenue source for healthcare providers.   They wonder aloud what will happen if they don’t participate.  Will it be a brief “tsk-tsk” and then business as usual?   Will their direct customers open the back door and let them in?  Don’t create a policy.   Create a program that addresses your concerns and with rewards or repercussions depending on participation.  

Entry filed under: vendor compliance, vendor management.

And Now a Word for Our Sponsors Why Do Hospitals Struggle to Run Like a Business?

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. David Hellmann  |  March 7, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Vendormate is the most expensive vendor tracking programs on the market. I have registered for multiple tracking programs and have paid a one time fee. I am currently having to pay $250 per hospital that is registered with Vendormate. I have 600 hospitals in my 11 state region. I wonder if hospitals and the owners/founders of Vendormate skipped Econ 101…this cost will be passed on to the consumer. Any time an outside source raises taxes, operating expenses, or cost of raw materials, that increased expense is built in to the cost and profit margin of the product. While security and patient privacy have become a large concern in the U.S. we are one of very few western countries that take such dramatic steps without realizing the end result – extreme increase in the cost of healthcare. I learned this as I studied international bio-ethics. These large annual fees that Vendors are now paying are being passed right to the hospitals, which are passed to insurance companies, and ultimately end up hitting the bank accounts and pockets of every patient.

  • 2. Lance Weatherby  |  March 12, 2008 at 4:25 am

    David; Vendormate did not make the regs requiring hospitals to validate vendor compliance, they are just offering a tool to accomplish this goal. It seems like some cost shifting from wining and dining to compliance programs is the wise route to go.


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