Another example is the times I have talked with facilities about the different strengths of acid utilized. Some clinics use five or six different strengths while others use only two or three. The needs of the patients should be carefully evaluated to insure the benefit s to the patient outweigh the extra costs associated with additional supplies.
At times lack of standardization is needed. For example, a patient may be allergic to the main dialyzer ordered by the staff and requires the use of a specific dialyzer. This type of situation should be the exception. Management should be aware of special orders and ensure that the appropriate stock is on hand.
Three critical areas affecting profitability are: supplies, labor and reimbursement. As supplies are one of the three prongs of the stool of profitability, it is essential that dialysis facilities shop around for the best prices. A fatal mistake made by small dialysis organizations (SDOs) is thinking they are too small to obtain good pricing.
Dialysis-specific suppliers are anxious to enter into a supply contract with any facility. Shop around and compare prices to find what best fits your needs. It is not always wise to lock yourself contractually into one vendor. For example, if Vendor A will give you great pricing on dialyzers, and Vendor B will beat Vendor A on saline, you have the option of ordering from multiple vendors. If you choose to order supplies from different vendors, ensure you can meet any quantity requirements set by the vendor.
Be cautious with salespeople who want to be your one-stop supplier. It has been my experience that some large suppliers place a significant markup on their ancillary supplies. There are many vendors that serve the dialysis industry where ancillary supplies can be purchased at a better price.
Have you ever walked into your supply room or another facility to see the shelves packed with supplies or opened a drawer on the floor to see the drawer stuffed with who knows what? Have you ever calculated how much cash is tied up in that inventory?
I counted inventory at a hospital-based facility which utilized four separate rooms for inventory storage. Shelves were packed to their breaking points, drawers on the floor were so full of supplies there was no way to know what was in them.
The facility was spending a large amount of money on their supplies and receiving pressure from hospital administration to get their expenses under control.
Despite supplies being present in the facility, the staff continued to order more simply because they were not effectively keeping track of the supplies they had on hand.
Organize your supplies and institute a PAR level reordering system. In order to establish a PAR level system the use of each supply per treatment should be established.