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Three Questions with Andy Brailo: Strengthening the Supply Chain

Brian Lane, President and CEO of The Center for Health Affairs and CHAMPS Healthcare joins Premier’s Chief Customer Officer, Andy Brailo, for an episode of 3Q that explores strategies for creating an end-to-end supply chain that is transparent, diverse, and reliable.

Andy: First, tell the audience a little bit about your organization and the members and communities that you serve.

Brian: CHAMPS is one of the original group purchasing organizations (GPO) within the country. Our founding dates back to one of the first pandemics in 1918. The organization itself was spawned out of the Center for Health ─ the second oldest Hospital Association based in Cleveland with roots dating back to 1914. Our organization has been focused on serving both acute as well as non-acute healthcare providers within Northeast Ohio and nationally. In total, we serve more than 19,000 member locations across the United States.

Over the years, we've also expanded our work across other industries, including K-12 schools, restaurants, colleges, universities, casinos and other businesses. We are extremely service driven and committed to supporting our members needs in every single way that we possibly can. One thing our members have in common is that they are all dealing with the economic and global supply chain issues brought on as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As COVID-19 spread across the world, several supply chain issues quickly emerged, including:

  • The lack of visibility into supply sources;
  • A fragmented approach to ordering and fulfillment; and
  • An over-reliance on overseas manufacturing.

We see both the challenges our hospitals are dealing with on both the acute and the non-acute side.

Andy: What efforts do supply chain leaders and the GPO industry need to take to tackle the issues you just mentioned? What changes in strategy should be established to accommodate COVID’s aftershocks?

Brian: We need to focus on key capabilities to help protect the supply chain. Like Premier, we're rallying together with our members to ensure access to supplies, data and intelligence needed to survive and thrive in this challenging environment.

First, the pandemic highlighted the need for more domestic manufacturing and sourcing. Here in Northeast Ohio, CHAMPS partnered with JobsOhio to implement agreements with PPE and related product suppliers as part of our commitment to supporting local, diverse and small business domestic suppliers to progress the region's economy. I also applaud Premier and its members’ efforts to pool capital and invest in domestic manufacturers that can supply shortage products. This up-front liquidity is just what is needed for capacity expansion and modernization, as well as long-term buying commitments to provide incentive for innovation. This ensures that providers have cost-effective, domestic alternatives for their patient care needs. Thus, let's keep the pace on that and keep the developing additional domestic offerings as well as investments. You have our commitment on that, but it's not all about domestic production.

Overall, we need greater diversity with sourcing from multiple regions to help eliminate overreliance and mitigate the risks of product shortages. Lastly, we need to continue to leverage technology and data for greater transparency and visibility.

Andy: Brian, we saw the byline that you and Premier CEO Mike Alkire authored on supply chain resiliency. For Mike, we know that there's a special place in his heart for Ohio having grown up there. Among other places, your journey traversed the northeast and the upper Midwest. What is it about Ohio and Cleveland that has fostered your passion in healthcare?

Brian: Let me hit on that with as much heart and soul and genuineness as I possibly can. Cleveland used to be the epicenter for supply chain and logistics. It used to be number one in gross domestic product (GDP) when we formed in the early 1900s. What has happened now is that our GDP has fallen to about 33rd. So, I'm on a quest to elevate this community ─ and not only in GDP. I want to enable the transformation from number one in poverty to a metropolitan area that has addressed structural racism, food insecurity and access to healthcare. That’s what I am here to do, and I am extremely passionate about it. The board has asked me to stay for 20 years, I’m willing to stay 50.

Andy: We call our series 3Q, but I always like to throw in a fun bonus question to close us out. So, what's your current binge watch?

Brian: A current binge watch out of COVID has become two main shows. One is succession, which is the wackiest family dynamics I've ever seen, and I used it as an illustration to my daughter of what we will never become or ever aspire to be! The second show is Mandalorian, it really gives a forward projection and a deep dramatic look at the characters that we grew up with when we were kids.

Andy: Brian, it's the action of CHAMPS and our members that allows us all to take another step forward in protecting healthcare providers from shortages and driving supply chain innovation. Thank you for joining 3Q and sharing your insights. We truly appreciate your partnership and I appreciate your friendship.

Brian: Thank you for this opportunity.

Follow Andy on LinkedIn and check out the hashtag #3Qvideo for more of his insights and interviews on hot topics across healthcare.


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