ISO nabs group purchase imprimatur

September 16, 1992

MEDIQ Equipment Maintenance Services (MEMS) won an edge in marketinghospital CT maintenance contracts when it signed a preferred vendoragreement with a major hospital group purchasing organization. The Arlington, TX, independent service organization

MEDIQ Equipment Maintenance Services (MEMS) won an edge in marketinghospital CT maintenance contracts when it signed a preferred vendoragreement with a major hospital group purchasing organization.

The Arlington, TX, independent service organization intendsto use the agreement as a blueprint for pursuing other agreementswith hospital purchasing groups, according to a MEMS spokesperson.

Shared Services for Southern Hospitals (SSSH) of Marietta,GA, announced in July that MEMS has been designated as the preferredvendor for service of CT scanners installed in over 340 SSSH memberhospitals.

The agreement gives MEMS access to millions of dollars in potentialCT contracts. Although the agreement does not automatically awardcontracts to MEMS, it gives the company a leg up in marketingits services to SSSH hospitals, according to Daniel Muehlfelder,a MEMS spokesperson.

"Basically, what MEMS gains is access to the decision-makersat SSSH," Muehlfelder said. "We get to actually meetwith the people who make those decisions."

The agreement, which did not involve a cash payment by eitherparty, is the first such contract SSSH has signed for high-endimaging services, according to Sandra Green, an SSSH spokesperson.

The nonprofit group offers purchasing discounts on equipmentand services to member hospitals in seven southern states. Memberhospitals receive discounts when signing contracts with preferredvendors, and also receive rebates at the end of the year basedon the number of agreements they sign.

Under the terms of the agreement, MEMS will be featured inSSSH materials sent to member hospitals. MEMS will also be marketedby the group's regional vice presidents, who visit hospitals periodically.SSSH member hospitals can contract with MEMS or can select a servicealternative of their own choosing, Green said.

"We're offering a variety of services that give each ofour member hospitals a lot of flexibility," Green said. "Itisn't a compliance agreement, but rather a selected alternative."

MEMS was chosen as a preferred vendor because the company'sservices met the group's need for high-end imaging service atan affordable price.

The agreement also complements similar agreements SSSH haswith two other companies for less advanced equipment, Green said.

"A lot of hospitals have their own biomedical engineering,so they don't need a whole biomedical engineering program,"Green said. "But they want someone to take care of theirhigh-end imaging equipment, and that's where MEMS can come in."

The contract covers primarily CT service, which MEMS specializesin. But if the ISO begins offering MR service, that would be includedin the agreement as well.

MEMS' remote scanner diagnostics system, MEMServ Diagnostics,was also a factor in the selection of the ISO. MEMServ enablesMEMS field engineers using laptop computers to dial into personalcomputers in each scanner. Diagnostics can be performed from almostanywhere with this system (SCAN 2/26/92).

The agreement can be seen as another victory in the effort tolegitimize ISO service, according to Muehlfelder.

"To my knowledge it's the first major hospital associationthat has selected an ISO and said `This is who we're going towork with. We believe they can give us the same quality and provideit at a savings,'" he said.

MEMS will continue to pursue similar agreements with hospitalgroups, he added.

"I view this as the first of many relationships,"Muehlfelder said.