We have all heard the words “unprecedented”, “unpredictable”, and “unknown” a lot this year. While those words have become mainstays of casual conversation surrounding COVID-19, they also carry with them a lot of stress on affected industries, businesses, and services, including outpatient healthcare.
Stay-at-home orders that escalated at the start of COVID-19 caused a suspension of elective medical procedures and reduced patient counts. Just like all other businesses forced to temporarily shut their doors, it became absolutely critical for outpatient centers to reduce costs while patient visits, services, and subsequent revenue was at a standstill. For outpatient centers, many of which spend around 20% of revenue on supplies1, inventory like medical apparel and linens was a natural cost to cut or reduce.
While some outpatient centers found themselves locked into agreement minimums despite the unprecedented circumstances, others found relief from flexible medical inventory agreements. Keep reading to discover how the pandemic has proved the value of flexible medical inventory programs.
What Is a Flexible Medical Inventory Program?
A flexible medical inventory program for outpatient healthcare means agreements are flexible. In the industry, it is common for outpatient centers to experience 80% minimums in their medical apparel and linen inventory agreements, regardless of circumstances. Flexible inventory management programs, however, require no-minimum agreements, allowing inventory to scale up or down based on needs.
What Does Flexibility Have to Do with the Pandemic?
During an unpredictable pandemic such as COVID-19, having the ability to increase or decrease inventory at a moment’s notice, has helped outpatient centers:
- Meet urgent supply needs caused by surging patient volumes
- Reduce deliveries and expenses for unneeded or unused inventory
- Provide peace-of-mind when it is needed most
While most outpatient healthcare facilities reopened in late Spring, with added safety measures, these facilities are still seeing major changes to patient volumes and flow. With a predicted “next wave” of COVID-19 cases, there is always a chance that mandated shutdowns will happen again. Knowing that, outpatient healthcare facilities that struggled with inflexible agreements in the Spring can plan for an unpredictable future by considering a flexible inventory management program now.
What Does a Flexible Agreement Mean for My Outpatient Center?
Learn what a flexible agreement can mean for your center by reading this real story of one outpatient surgery center that found relief and financial security during the pandemic from a flexible approach.
A New York-based surgical center that specializes in same day procedures was looking to change its medical apparel and linen provider during the beginning months of COVID-19. The center’s management team had just changed, so the new Office Manager reached out to an affiliate center to see who they were using. The affiliate center recommended Nixon Medical, explaining how they reduced inventory levels during the shutdowns without a problem. This caught the attention of the Office Manager, as her existing vendor held the center responsible to 80% inventory minimums despite being shut down.
Nixon Medical partnered with the surgical center, plus two of the affiliate locations, providing financial security and peace-of-mind that in the event of another shutdown due to local, state, or federal regulations, the center(s) would not be charged for its unused medical apparel and linens.
Nixon Medical was also able to keep costs down, limit disruption, and increase safety and productivity by providing pickup, delivery, and stocking services twice per week instead of three times like the previous vendor. Our flexible approach to inventory management and contract agreements during an unpredictable time in our country’s history made this surgery center comfortable and confident in their decision. In addition to our flexible agreements and efficient service, we also demonstrated rapid responsiveness by working to accommodate an overnight shipment for scrubs and surgical gowns prior to the center becoming a client—an early example of our industry-recognized service difference.
Read more case studies here about how U.S.-based outpatient centers have overcome the crippling impacts of COVID-19 through flexible service agreements.
Find Relief for Your Outpatient Center Before It’s Too Late
If your outpatient center was frustrated by inflexible service agreements and minimums during the recent shutdowns or currently as your patient volumes and flows continue to shift, take your first step towards relief today by contacting us. We are a leading service provider of medical linens and apparel serving outpatient healthcare centers nationwide. We provide trusted medical apparel and linen rental services, HLAC-accredited laundering services, expert inventory management, and custom, reliable service. We focus specifically on outpatient healthcare centers, providing service for your needs:
- No minimums required, ever
- Expert inventory management
- Free same-day special deliveries
- Access to Route Service Representative
For more information or to get started, contact us now.