Friday, September 16, 2016 3:02 PM

Hooray for our valued Vatty honorees!

At the end of August for the past several years, we’ve celebrated the work of our Value Analysis teams with a fun event called the “Vatty Awards.” We have a lot of fun and hand out recognitions with silly names for what really is important, difficult work that makes a big difference in how we’re able to deliver care at Community Medical Centers.
Our Value Analysis volunteer employee teams help us find better products, negotiate better deals, and standardize supplies and services to find savings that either don’t impact patient care or actually improve it. It’s all about finding efficiencies while still delivering excellent patient care. And since March 2011, our eight Value Analysis Teams (or VATs – that’s where the “Vatty” comes from) have found more than $41 million in savings using employees’ ideas for cost-savings and working with vendors, evaluating products/services and piloting process changes and then conducting audits to see how any changes are working.
Our fiscal year savings for 2016 was a whopping $7,991,503! Awesome work everyone! And those savings can be re-invested into patient care, technology and our employees.
This year our Money Bags Team Award went to Cardiac Imaging for being at 161% of their goal. With this award, we recognize the team that goes beyond the goal they set for themselves at the beginning of the year. It was a great way for the team leader, Steve Bergthold, to end his 2-year tenure. The Cardiac VAT pushed through 10 initiatives but they averaged $96,706 in annual savings per initiative!
The Power Producer Team Award for the most savings initiatives completed in a year went to the Patient Care team. This group, led by Mason Matthews, completed 50 initiatives – far ahead of our next most prolific group, the Peri-operative team with 39 initiatives. The hard-working Patient Care VAT transitioned our bath wipes to another vendor for over $875,000 in savings! They also performed the hard work piloting things like deodorant that may be smaller in savings but make a big difference to our patients. The Patient Care team had the largest ending balance of all our teams with $1,631,716 in annual savings found. Wow!
The MVP Team Award for the most valuable single project went to the FIRM team – that’s the Finance, IT, HR and Materials Management team. Rich Cummins has led this team for the past two years. They were able to find $1,118,932 in annual savings by converting our employee pharmacy benefits to Med-Impact Pharmacy Health Benefit Management. This was a huge contract and a huge effort. Not only did it saving us money, but it offers our employees even more flexibility on their prescription benefits. Thank you all!
I also want to acknowledge the work of the other teams who did the kind of important work that usually goes unnoticed (except by the folks in our finance department.)  Kudos to:

  • Laboratory VAT, led by Hap Morrissey, worked with our Premier Group Purchasing Organization to find more than $230,000 in savings on phlebotomy products.
  • Peri-Operative VAT, led by Drenda Montgomery, negotiated new pricing for pneumatic surgical drills to help save $97,000 a year.
  • Pharmacy VAT, led by Abaid Rahman, converted brand name medications to generic drugs for over $417,000 in savings this year. All over the country hospitals are complaining about the huge hikes in drug costs this year. It’s an uphill struggle to keep our costs contained in this area.
  • Support Services VAT, led by Stan Zulewski, took on the corporate equivalent of a monumental closet cleaning and we were able to reduce what we pay for storage to save $98,000 in annual costs.
  • Sustainability VAT, led by Susan Sample, helped us reduce our landfill waste by 668.5 tons – which helped save nearly $19,000 and earn more than $22,300 in rebates. The Sustainability VAT also worked to get Community recognized as the first hospital system in California to join the Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge to provide plug in stations for employees and doctors at all our hospitals.  
This year we recognized three Physician Champions who’ve given their time and expertise to help us push through changes which materialized in savings and efficiencies. We appreciate the work they did to help educate other physicians and sometimes convince them to change their ways.
Pathologists Dr. Clarke Harding and Dr. David Slater were particularly instrumental in championing new software for blood management. This helps us manage and audit blood product use and helps reduce costs, plus enhance patient safety. This also allows us to compare ourselves to best practices in other institutions across the country. Our initial first quarter date under this system shows a reduction in blood use and an approximate savings of $100,000 at Clovis Community alone.
Dr. Michael Maruyama, a vascular and general surgeon, continues to be an amazing physician champion for the value analysis process. He’s been invaluable in educating other physicians that this about finding an equivalent or even better device or product that improves patient care.
Every year we also recognize four individuals for special contributions to the process. Our first individual honor the VAT Diplomat Award – for pulling together the most contentious, stubborn groups to realize savings – went to Nancy Bradley in recognition of her tenacity and diplomacy in dealing with our vendors to achieve the best price for the products we use to deliver outstanding patient care.
This year’s Creative Conserver – for coming up with and following through on the most creative savings project – was Gregory Rorick. Greg has championed numerous initiatives for the Patient Care VAT – 12 to be exact, including standardizing the ICU isolation gowns at Clovis. That’s a simple idea that was probably overlooked by others who weren’t as creative as Greg.
Our 2016 Stick-to-itive Saver – for staying with and pushing through a particularly difficult project – was Martina Hadzi-Kimov. In her role as a pharmacy buyer at Clovis, Martina has worked diligently to provide consistent savings through strict inventory management and fining opportunities for saving with the 340B program. She’s been instrumental in helping find a combined savings of $500,000.
We also recognize a Steady Eddy – an individual that’s always being there at every step in the VAT savings process. This year’s Steady Eddy was Jaimie Potter who transitioned from a passionate volunteer Sustainability VAT member to the team’s contract coordinator. Jaimie was instrumental in doing the background work for Fresno Heart & Surgical’s coming transition to greener chemicals. And she helped find a way to make polystyrene elimination possible at our largest hospital.
Thank you to all of our value analysis teams for a fabulous year! Remember the Value Analysis Teams are always looking for new ways to improve patient care and realize efficiencies and savings. If you have a great idea to share make sure you go to the “VAT Cost Savings” page under corporate initiatives on our Forum to let the teams know.
Wanda Holderman
Senior VP, Chief Clinical Integration Officer
& Value Analysis Steering Committee leader