FAQs

What is this program all about?

AdvantageTrust is the program that HealthTrust offers non-acute care organizations. This program provides the same discounts that hospital members receive, but presents the information in a relevant, user-friendly manner so that staff performing multiple duties in these facilities can quickly identify the steps necessary to access the discounts and resulting savings from using our contracts.

What exactly is a GPO?

A group purchasing organization (GPO) is a term used to describe a purchasing cooperative or collective. A GPO uses the collective volume of its member hospitals and other organizations to negotiate pricing on products those members use. The hospitals, physician offices, long-term care facilities and other members still purchase directly from the contracted supplier, but the established pricing, price protection, payment terms, freight terms and many other terms and conditions are pre-established and agreed to by the GPO and supplier. The member really only needs to know the primary terms (pricing, payment, freight) to place orders and obtain discounts. The GPO manages the details of the contracts.

Is there a cost to participate in the program?

No. Eligible members can join and access discounts for no fee or charge.

Who is eligible to join the program?

Almost any healthcare or health and well-being organization is eligible to participate. However, when an organization joins AdvantageTrust, they agree that membership in our program is exclusive and prohibits them from participating in similar programs offered by other group purchasing organizations.

Why can’t my organization belong to more than one group purchasing organization?

Although some GPOs allow membership in others, HealthTrust/AdvantageTrust does not. Ours is a committed model and, as a result, we offer pricing that is recognized as the most competitive in the healthcare industry.

What if a supplier I currently use is not on your list of contracted suppliers?

The key to success for GPOs and their members in obtaining savings is the leverage of their combined purchasing volume. This is done through a bid/proposal process and includes numerous components, including questionnaires, price sheets, product evaluations (as needed) and additional negotiations before a contract is awarded. Suppliers are awarded a contract based on several factors that include, but are not limited to:

  • product acceptability
  • breadth of product line
  • ability to distribute product nationwide
  • pricing
  • price protection
  • payment terms
  • freight terms
  • more…

Therefore, not all suppliers are awarded contracts. If your current supplier is not listed, it sometimes means it did not receive a contract award for reasons such as proposed pricing or ability to distribute nationwide.

When your existing supplier does not match a contracted supplier, a couple of things should be considered:

  1. In order to achieve maximum savings with the least effort (negotiating and contracting locally), the contracted supplier is most likely the best option.
  2. Membership in our program includes confidentiality and therefore, your existing suppliers should not be provided with our contract pricing in an effort to “meet or beat” our pricing. (We have found that suppliers in fear of losing business are anxious to lower pricing when that business is threatened rather than have given you better pricing all along.)
  3. Because we provide high purchase volume to our contracted suppliers, they are able to reduce margin while maintaining a profitable program. When local negotiations take place, that market share is not present and therefore, the long-term viability of the pricing for the supplier is not established. In other words, the supplier may only offer lower pricing in the short term.

How do we know the agreements we can access through AdvantageTrust provide better pricing than we are already getting?

Without some detailed analyses, the EXACT amount of savings is difficult to identify. However, because or our large volume ($23 billion annually) and our committed model, members can generally expect to save 10 – 20 percent, depending on the category, and any locally negotiated contracts.

Over the years, we have completed numerous analyses comparing members old pricing to pricing under AdvantageTrust contracts and on average, aggregate savings on these analyses was 22 percent. Of course, this will vary depending on your product mix and any local arrangements in place, but the model we use provides enough volume to contracted suppliers that they are able to reduce their margins with our members and still maintain an acceptable level of profit. More information on the results of our savings analyses can be found HERE.

Why is HealthTrust and AdvantageTrust better than any other GPO out there?

The program that HealthTrust has established includes exclusive and committed participation from its members. This means suppliers can expect to gain market share when they are able to provide HealthTrust with the most competitive pricing. This approach provides increased volume to suppliers that are willing to provide the greatest savings. It is a model that is recognized as the most competitive among suppliers and healthcare facilities alike.

Why are commitment and compliance required to participate?

All GPOs are not created equal. Our committed purchasing model drives a superior value over voluntary GPOs. The foundation of our success is member alignment around two key principles: 1. Product evaluation and contract awards and 2. Contract adoption (compliance).

High compliance is only possible because our advisory boards are aligned in setting strategy and approving all contract awards. The consistent adoption of those contracts across our membership is the reason our pricing is dramatically better than all other GPOs. Therefore, to participate in the AdvantageTrust program, participants must be willing to commit 80 percent of their annual purchases through our contract portfolio, where category coverage exists.

Examples:
Total Annual Spend for Facility XYZ = $100,000
Total Annual Spend where AdvantageTrust has contract coverage for Facility XYZ = $80,000
80 percent Commitment = $80,000 X 80 percent ≅ $64,000*

Total Annual Spend for Facility XYZ = $50,000
Total Annual Spend where AdvantageTrust has contract coverage for Facility XYZ = $40,000
80 percent Commitment = $40,000 X 80 percent ≅ $32,000*

* Facility XYZ’s approximate dollar volume commitment to participate

For most healthcare facilities, this equates to using our medical distributor and office supply contracts. Typically, members use many other contracts because they realize significant savings, but when members are accessing our contracts for their two largest categories of spend, compliance is usually achieved.

How do I enroll?

Go to www.advantagetrustpg.com and complete the Location Information Form (LIF) which we use to populate your enrollment documents. The enrollment documents will then be sent to you for electronic signature through a system called DocuSign®. Generally, the membership process takes approximately one week. (It can take longer if the member doesn’t access the membership document and complete the online signature within 24 hours.)

You will also be provided with your GPOID# (an identification number specific to your facility that helps vendors link your account to our discounted pricing).

For a more detailed explanation of the enrollment process and timeframes, click here.

Our facility address has recently changed. How can I update my information?

We have developed an online Change Form to communicate updated demographic information. Depending on the type of change, an amendment to your membership documents may be sent to you for electronic signature. These types of changes take approximately one week to process (from receipt of your signed amendment). If the change is something like the addition of a suite number or a spelling correction, an amendment is not required.

How do I know what discounts with which companies are available to my organization?

Once your membership has been processed, you will receive an email and link to our purchasing point portal. The portal presents those companies that we have agreements with and information on how to access the discounts. Generally, our contracts will cover about 80 percent of your supply purchases. Our contracted suppliers may not always be a match to the company you are currently using, but as a result of a rigorous bid, analysis and negotiation process, we have determined the best value and supplier for the category under contract.

Who decides which supplier is awarded a contract?

Our process includes extensive input from our members through participation in committees. These subcommittees represent the major categories we contract for including food, medical, surgical, facilities, alternate site, laboratory and also ad-hoc groups, as necessary.

The committees are involved in the initial steps in the process including strategy, supplier eligibility, review of analyses, review of proposals and final contract award(s).

I think I can do this myself. What are the benefits of using a GPO?

Most members have negotiated local contracts in the past, but when they’ve done this, they only have their volume to offer the supplier. In addition, staff negotiating these contracts are typically not purchasing professionals and don’t have the market intelligence of a GPO. Many local contracts are negotiated based on a suppliers’ indication that the best price has been provided. GPOs have member data and proposal pricing to analyze and substantiate the claims about pricing and discounts a supplier might say are in place.

Also, most of our members (and other GPOs’ members) have concluded that their staff time is too valuable to be spent trying to negotiate with suppliers. Instead, using a GPO provides substantial discounts while allowing staff to focus on the core mission of the member’s organization.

Does the program offer discounts with suppliers offering environmentally preferred products?

Yes, there are a number of contracts with “green” (environmentally friendly) products included in them.

Does the program offer discounts with suppliers that are certified women- and minority-owned business enterprises?

Yes, there are a number of contracts in place with certified women- and minority-owned business enterprises (MWBEs).

I am already a member and need to know how to access the discounts available for pharmacy products.

For existing members who would like to gain access to the pharmacy portfolio of discounts, we require a DEA certificate number and a pharmacy contact name/number. Simply go to the Location Information Form on our website. On the form, note that you are an existing member and would like to add the pharmacy program. Click here if you would like to complete that section of the Location Information Form.

Our DEA number has changed and we would like to continue to access the pharmacy product discounts. What do we need to do?

Utilizing the Location Information Form please provide us with the new DEA number. We will verify the number and make the change in the membership system.

What if I still have additional questions?

We have dedicated resources available to answer your questions or help you gain access to the discounts we offer. Our team can be contacted through email at memberservices@advantagetrustpg.com or by phone at 866.841.2992.