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Trinitas Teaches Residents About Controlling Costs

While patient care is primary, controlling costs is essential to our mission

Through their role in ordering tests and directing patient care, physicians control most of the costs in healthcare. So, it makes sense to shine a light on their power to conserve during their training.

That was the mindset of Nancy DiLiegro, PhD, FACHE, Vice President of Clinical Operations and Physician Services, and Chief Clinical Officer at Trinitas Regional Medical Center, whose initiative spearheaded the mission to sensitize new doctors to their role in generating cost, and how they can potentially reduce healthcare costs throughout their entire professional lifetimes.

“We need to educate the medical residents as they are at the patients’ bedsides directing their care,” says DiLiegro. “They dictate much of the spending that goes on here and have the most power to conserve while at the same time making sure patients get the proper care.”

“Students and residents are taught that even something as simple as an underpad makes a difference -- they know to use a basic blue chuck when performing a dressing change, instead of a quilted absorbent underpad, which costs seven times as much,” explains Dr. Muntasir Khaled, Chief Resident of Podiatric Medicine & Surgery. He adds, "Value analysis education here at Trinitas has sensitized us as new physicians to the importance of material cost in daily practice. We are always trying to reduce cost, particularly in a low margin hospital like Trinitas, where every dollar saved supports its mission of caring for the underserved and giving back to the local community. It is important to focus on using the right product for the job at hand. Our students and residents are also taught to only open as many dressings as necessary, not only reducing waste, but also reducing unsightly clutter in the patient environment. Even small changes in the physician's use of materials or equipment, on a daily basis, can add up to big savings for Trinitas.”

Trinitas’ purchasing and value analysis partner, Nexera, Inc., a subsidiary of the Greater New York Hospital Association involved Tim Glennon, RN, who has begun meeting with Medical Students and Residents on a quarterly basis to offer Value Analysis Education to discuss evaluating cost, and identify possible reductions in Hospital spending that does not compromise care.

Glennon, in his role as Trinitas’ Director of Value Analysis and Vice President, Nexera Inc., believes dispersing this information to residents is especially important considering the “low-hanging fruit” has been picked in the effort to conserve.

“Trinitas is being very innovative and cutting-edge in order to ‘bend the healthcare cost curve,’” says Glennon. “For instance, if we go to the most important source of our healthcare supply chain and process costs, i.e., the MDs who order specific care leading to the products, and tests, and pharmaceuticals that Trinitas purchases to render that care, we are potentially reducing costs at the source.”

Glenn E. Nacion, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, explains, “Providing value analysis training to our future doctors is critical as the health delivery system transitions to value-based healthcare, a healthcare delivery model in which providers, including hospitals and physicians, are paid based on patient health outcomes, rather than the amount of healthcare services they provide. The Value Analysis initiative exposes the residents and students to be more aware and conscientious of healthcare cost when making future medical decisions in the patients that we serve.”

Under the recently enacted New Jersey Out-of-Network Consumer Protection, Transparency, Cost-Containment and Accountability Act, as well as other federal and state legislation, healthcare pricing and quality indicators will continue to become more available, transparent, and easier to compare.

Gary S. Horan, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer, says, “Our Value Analysis training is designed to align patient outcomes with our cost containment initiatives, while ensuring that patient quality is never compromised. Educating our future doctors is more critical than ever before because in a free market the customer is the boss, and if the provider doesn’t satisfy the customer, the provider will go out of business.”

“In this new environment, healthcare consumers will quickly learn how to make a more informed decision when selecting a provider,” Horan adds. “Increasingly, these informed consumers will appreciate this transparency and will select low-cost, high-quality medical centers like Trinitas.”

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About Trinitas Regional Medical Center
Trinitas Regional Medical Center was established in 2000 following the consolidation of Elizabeth General Medical Center and St. Elizabeth Hospital. Trinitas, a major center for comprehensive health services for those who live and work in Central New Jersey, is a Catholic teaching medical center sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth in partnership with Elizabethtown Healthcare Foundation. With 11 Centers of Excellence across the continuum of care, Trinitas has distinguished itself in cardiology, cancer care, behavioral health, renal care, nursing education, diabetes management, wound healing, breast health, seniors healthcare, women's healthcare and sleep medicine.

Posted: October 26, 2018

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