Pricing Accuracy Takes Major Step Forward At HIDA Contract Administration Conference

Orlando, Fla. – More than 120 suppliers, GPOs, and providers seeking to improve healthcare contracting efficiency recently gathered at HIDA’s first ever Contract Administration Conference in Orlando, May 10-11. The meeting focused on ways trading partners can improve pricing management processes, such as standardizing customer identification, improving communications and providing ample notification in advance of contract activations.

During the event, more than a dozen industry experts presented their unique perspectives on contract administration. Among the key insights:

➤ GLNs gain credibility for customer identification. Beth Gibson, GS1-US, and Daniel Watts, Johnson & Johnson, illustrated specific ways that Global Location Numbers (GLNs) can be used to serve as standard customer identifiers and enhance financial transactions between distributors, manufacturers, and GPOs. A joint HIDA/GS1-US Price Accuracy Initiative Workgroup is currently developing a proof of concept to confirm GLN viability for these processes. “Whatever state the data is in today, we own whether we get it better,” said Watts. “And we can.”

➤ Notification timing remains a key issue. Late contract notifications continue to cause errors and rework, participants noted. It’s particularly important to avoid back-dated contracts, which almost always cause price mismatches, recommended one roundtable group reviewing the issue.

➤ Non-standard formats prevent automation and increase costs. “In a six-month period, our Medical-Surgical contracts team receives more than 3,000 contract communications via email text, PDF, or Word document,” said Justin Bowers, McKesson. “If we can standardize our processes and formats for receiving this information, it will become much easier to avoid many of the issues we face on a daily basis.”

➤Distributors need better access to accurate price tier information. During a distributor and manufacturer executive panel discussion, Anne-Marie Johnson, The Claflin Company, stressed that misidentifying customer price tiers is a significant problem plaguing healthcare contracting. “But,” she added, “it’s an issue that could largely be eliminated with disciplined processes.” Prior to the panel, Therese Taff, Halyard Health, outlined one such solution to help determine customer price tier eligibility in real time via her organization’s online portal.

➤ Providers endorse supplier efforts to clean up contracting processes. Derek Stewart, Adventist Health System, described his organization’s willingness to roll up its sleeves with trading partners to simplify and improve pricing accuracy. Keynotes Deb Templeton, Geisinger Health System, and Joe Dudas, The Mayo Clinic, added to the provider discussion, offering their support for HIDA’s conference and overall Pricing Accuracy Initiative. Each gave their keynote addresses on ways to drive healthcare supply chain transformation through a mix of collaboration, adaptation, data standards and flexibility.

“Now that we have our foot on the pedal,” said Nancy Montemarano, BD, “we need to start pushing.”The event was a success by all measures. Attendance exceeded projections, participants gave the program very high ratings, and attendees actively engaged in identifying and advancing pricing accuracy best practices. “Now that we have our foot on the pedal,” said Nancy Montemarano, BD, “we need to start pushing.”

HIDA is currently working to finalize a date and location for a second Contract Administration Conference in 2017. To learn more details about the conference, and to access HIDA’s free white paper, Improving Pricing Accuracy: Best Practices in Contract Administration, visit