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Acute vs. Non-Acute Markets: Is There a Difference When Purchasing Capital Equipment?

By Cindy Juhas | April 18, 2015

When buying products for a non-acute vs. an acute care facility you are, no doubt, well aware that the cost to acquire and implement capital equipment goes far beyond the purchase price.  Although there may be little or no difference in the product pricing per se, there may be a substantial difference in the delivery costs involved.  

Non-acute sites can often access the same products and pricing through a GPO contract due to their affiliation with an acute-care (in-patient) facility.  However, even though the product purchasing and pricing may be the same, the delivery and installation costs may be quite a different matter.

Delay Costs

Many, if not most, non-acute care facilities are without proper receiving capabilities; generally no dock is available.  Typically tractor-trailer trucks that transport equipment do not have lift-gates and can only unload on a dock.  If the equipment item must be transferred from a tractor-trailer truck to a delivery van or a truck with a lift-gate, this may cause delays and increased handling costs for the capital equipment purchases.  Of course, this will add to the overall procurement cost.

In addition, this delivery delay can prevent the non-acute facility from opening on time and providing projected services when expected.  This delay will also affect the amount of services that can be provided and the associated revenue stream.

Although there may be no difference in expectations associated with the purchase cost of capital equipment between acute and non-acute facilities, the additional delivery services required by non-acute facilities may be far more involved and create additional costs.

Organized Receiving and Delivery

Non-acute facilities generally need to prepare to take receipt of capital equipment on a given day.  They do not usually have the right personnel, tools, or equipment needed to unload, unpackage, assemble and deliver the equipment to the correct room.  If it is a replacement item, they might also need to remove the old equipment and make arrangements to discard or donate the old equipment.

Acute care facilities are always prepared to receive larger orders and larger equipment items; they have the personnel, tools and equipment on the dock that can handle larger equipment items.  If the equipment specified for the non-acute care facility is shipped to the hospital dock, the hospital dock personnel still have to store, assemble and then deliver the equipment to the off-site clinic or surgery center.  

Most hospitals don’t have the extra manpower and delivery vehicles to make this happen smoothly.  Most non-acute facilities are either focused on a very specific service such as ambulatory surgery or only provide basic family health care at a family physician's office.  Therefore they do not need a robust receiving structure - like a loading dock - or a robust receiving staff to accept shipments. 

Medical Distributors

Medical networks that offer complementary off-site health services for specialized treatments can benefit from working with a dedicated medical equipment distributor.  They can provide storage for capital equipment at a central warehouse until it is ready to be delivered to non-acute sites.  They can then provide value added services including assembly, safety checks and delivery with the required equipment such as palettes and dollies as well as personnel to install capital equipment and remove packaging.

At CME we understand the different needs for non-acute care facilities when it comes to the purchase of capital equipment.  We store, assemble and deliver the new equipment direct to the off-site facility when they need it.  We can also take out the old equipment and arrange for the donation of that used product. We can work with larger health care networks and streamline the delivery process across the board saving time and money.

About CME: CME Corp is the nation’s premier source for healthcare equipment, turnkey logistics, and biomedical services, representing 2 million+ products from more than 2,000 manufacturers.

With two corporate offices and 35+ service centers, our mission is to help healthcare facilities nationwide reduce the cost of the equipment they purchase, make their equipment specification, delivery, installation, and maintenance processes more efficient, and help them seamlessly launch, renovate and expand on schedule.

Capital Medical Equipment Hospital Systems/IDNs

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