New York Times: A Mission to Save Money, a Record of Otherwise

The New York Times has published a new article in its ongoing MEDICINES’S MIDDLEMEN series examining hospital purchasing contracts. You may view the entire article online at

A Mission to Save Money, a Record of Otherwise
June 7, 2002

One of the nation’s most powerful hospital-owned buying groups, which has a mandate to help nearly 1,500 nonprofit hospitals hold down costs, has posted a rise of 84 percent in its own spending over the last three years, the group’s internal records show.

The group, Premier Inc., has dismayed some hospitals by expanding into areas that have little to do with its core mission of finding the best products at the best prices.

Some hospital executives have recently started working together to examine Premier’s books and learn whether the group’s rising costs are justified. “Salaries and bonuses and staffing would be one area we’ve been looking at,” said one participant, Maurice W. Elliott, the chairman of Methodist Healthcare Inc., which is based in Memphis.

Several hospital executives also privately expressed irritation at the buying group’s practice of holding conferences and business meetings at luxury resorts, where Premier spends tens of thousands of dollars for speeches by world leaders and diplomats who are not directly involved in hospital care issues in this country.

View the entire article and previous installments online at the New York TImes Web site: