Kaiser Permanente adds environmental component to supply purchasing

Kaiser Permanente will require suppliers to provide environmental data via a Sustainability Scorecard that will be used during the decision-making process to determine which companies get a slice of the Oakland, Calif., healthcare giant's annual $1 billion medical equipment pie. Kaiser's suppliers will disclose data on chemical content, recycled content, packaging and multi-use capability to generate an overall environmental score, reports the San Francisco Business Times.

Kaiser will consider that score, along with the quality or clinical performance of a product, assurance of supply, cost, supplier service, and clinical performance innovation, when selecting product vendors, says Robert Gotto, executive director for procurement and supply. Kaiser has already granted a five-year, $100 million contract to an endoscope supplier partly based on the company's progressive sterilization techniques that reduce chemical exposure for hospital employees.

Suppliers are increasingly comparable in terms of technology and cost, but often have wide disparities in the environmental impact of their products, says Gotto. "Some suppliers had the foresight to focus on this, and they're benefiting from that enormously."

Kaiser's key supply chain partner, Dallas-based Broadlane, will adopt the Sustainability Scorecard for its Kaiser customers by September. If Broadlane decides to embrace the tool companywide, the scorecard could influence about $10 billion in medical supply purchasing decisions across the country.

To learn more:
- read this San Francisco Business Times article
- read this Kaiser press release

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