Q: What is a physician group purchasing organization?

A:Group purchasing organizations (GPOs) consolidate the purchasing power of their members to negotiate discounts with vendors. When GPO members agree to purchase exclusively from the participating vendors, the vendors incur lower marketing costs and in return, offer larger discounts.

Physician-based GPOs have been created to help physicians reduce supply costs. Most physicians now purchase vaccines through a GPO, but to secure the best vaccine discounts, you need to choose a GPO that has contracts with the vaccine vendors you prefer to use. Once you become a member of the GPO, you will be expected to be loyal to its vaccine contracts because loyalty maintains the best pricing for all members.

Medical supplies are your second largest supply expense. Some physician GPOs don't offer medical supply discounts and a few offer discounts on a small list of items through vaccine vendors. The more valuable GPOs will have a complete medical supply program designed specifically for physician practices. Be cautious of GPOs that offer the same contracts used by hospitals. These often have large order minimums and no field representatives to handle problems. PedsPal has solved these problems by partnering with Henry Schein, the largest medical supply distributor, and MedAssets, perhaps the largest GPO, to get the best of both worlds. Finally, a few GPOs may also offer discounts on office furniture, records management and storage, EHRs, code books and selected services. If these are important to your practice, or may be in the future, you should look for a GPO that offers them.

When you join a GPO, it "links" you to its negotiated pricing by notifying the vendors that you have joined. You still work with the vendor reps you already know and continue to order directly from the vendors. The only change for you is lower prices.

GPOs are funded by administrative fees charged to vendors for organizing and managing the GPO membership. These fees typically range from 1 - 3 percent of member purchases. They do not impact discounts members receive and they must be reported to members yearly. Many GPOs now share some portion of their administrative fees with their members.

A little known fact about GPOs is that many don't object to vendor pricing increases. This is because administrative fees are based on total purchases, so as prices rise the value of the administrative fee also increases. You want to join a GPO that puts your bottom line first. A GPO that spends a significant effort on net reimbursement will have your best interest as its primary focus.

The best GPOs have the best discounts, help represent your interests on reimbursement issues and constantly look for ways to improve your bottom line through better technology, better products, and/or new practice tools. Join a GPO that gives you these values, because they can show that the GPO is working on your behalf to earn its administrative fees.

Q: What is PedsPal?

A: PedsPal is a national, physician group purchasing organization (GPO) created by the doctors of Cook Children's Physician Network. PedsPal provides discounts on vaccines, medical supplies and office supplies, as well as offers practice management expertise to physicians across the United States.

Q: Why should I join PedsPal?

A: Our vaccine discounts can save physicians as much as $12,000 per year. Our Henry Schein contract is the best offered to medical offices. In addition, we only work with vendors who value you as one of our more than 2,500 physician members. If you ever have a vendor issue, we'll be here to help.

Q: Is it really free to join?
A: Yes. As PedsPal's membership grows, so does our purchasing power, which gives all members greater savings.

Q: How is PedsPal funded?

A: Vendors pay GPOs to organize large groups of doctors. These fees don't impact your discounts.

Q: Who are your members?

A: PedsPal's members are physicians and other providers across the United States who want to work together to save money. Many are in private practices, while others are in physician groups.

Q: Do I order products from PedsPal?

A: No, you'll continue to order directly from our vendors and distributors, as well as work with the vendor reps you already know. We simply link you to our contracted pricing so you pay less.

Q: How does PedsPal compare to other physician GPOs?

A: Most GPOs focus on vaccines only, because vaccines are the products that produce the highest revenue to the GPO. Yes, we have these same vaccine agreements, but we want to do more for you, so we also have the best Henry Schein contract for medical supplies and the best Office Depot contract for office supplies. We have contracts for medical office furniture, vaccine storage units, coding books, safety needles and electronic medical records.

But we don't stop at trying to save you money, we work to improve your practice through the introduction of new technology, like 2D bar coded vaccines and work directly with vaccine companies and insurance payers to help improve reimbursement so you can serve your patients and maintain a positive bottom line.

Q: How do you share revenue with your members?

A: In years in which PedsPal is profitable, we will declare a rebate to our qualifying members which will be paid early in the following year. Details of each year's rebate will be sent to you in plenty of time to quality for participation. Details of this year's program are found in our Participation Agreement.

Q: Can I receive special discounts offered directly from PedsPal's vendors on top of the negotiated, lower prices?

A: Yes, you can receive those additional discounts on top of the contracted prices.

Q: Are you ready to join?

A: Click here

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