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14 July 2009 7,526 views No Comment

Premier Purchasing Partners First Healthcare Group Purchasing Organization to Set Specific Quality and Safety Guidelines for Suppliers

CHARLOTTE, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–To ensure patients receive the highest quality and safest food possible, the Premier healthcare alliance today released a set of standards for foodservices delivered to hospitals.

All Premier contracted suppliers will be required to adhere to national standards set by government agencies and food safety organizations for entry into the Premier Purchasing Partners foodservice supply chain. Purchasing Partners is the first healthcare group purchasing organization (GPO) to set these types of specific quality and safety guidelines, which take food safety to a new level and beyond what was previously a minimum standard.

Standards requirements include the creation of quality systems, such as a product rotation method to ensure that only products with acceptable shelf lives are shipped; the use of reputable carriers and assurance of secured products to ensure goods are protected during the shipping process; safe handling requirements; appropriate labeling and ingredient traceability requirements; and controls to manage food that is damaged during shipping and storage. Foodservice suppliers also must commit to corporate and environmental sustainability and fair labor practices.

“Food safety is a major public health concern that is only exacerbated in the hospital setting. Because patients are already vulnerable to illness, we believe it is our responsibility to ensure the food they eat in the hospital meets the highest standards,” said Premier Purchasing Partners President Mike Alkire. “We expect that our valued suppliers will not only adhere to the policies outlined in this manual, but will also strive to make continuous improvements. By meeting these expectations, together we will reach our goal of providing safe, high-quality products to the hospitals and healthcare facilities we serve.”

To enforce standards, suppliers will be subject to:

An approval audit for participation in Purchasing Partners’ supply chain.
Annual routine audits.
Annual plant inspections.
Random sampling of products.
Mock recalls to test recovery processes.
“Premier developed these standards to provide our suppliers with requirements and expectations for food quality and safety,” said Joan Ralph, Premier vice president of Continuum of Care Services. “They reflect general guidelines for developing and improving the quality systems of suppliers that provide raw food materials, food ingredients and manufactured products.”

About the Premier Foodservice Program

The industry’s largest healthcare foodservice purchasing program offers savings to more than 2,100 hospitals and 58,000-plus other healthcare sites across all 50 states.
Members purchase more than $1.9 billion in foodservice products and supplies.
Premier’s clinical nutrition initiatives are guided by a Clinical Nutrition Subcommittee of 18 registered dietitians from across the nation, representing large and small member facilities in urban, rural and suburban areas.
The task force includes foodservice directors, clinical nutrition managers and clinical dietitians.
The program combines sole-source distribution through U.S. Foodservice, aggressive contracts with foodservice manufacturers, industry leading value-added services, and educational opportunities.
About Premier Inc., 2006 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient

The Premier healthcare alliance is more than 2,100 U.S. hospitals and 58,000-plus other healthcare sites working together to improve healthcare quality and affordability. Premier maintains the nation’s most comprehensive repository of clinical, financial and outcomes information and operates a leading healthcare purchasing network. A world leader in helping deliver measurable improvements in care, Premier works with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the United Kingdom’s National Health Service North West to improve hospital performance. Premier has offices in San Diego, Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia and Washington. Follow Premier on Twitter.

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