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Six More Premier Alliance Members Join WNC Health Network to Increase Savings

February 8, 2008

The Premier healthcare alliance and the WNC Health Network (WNCHN) today announced that six more Premier member hospitals in the Carolinas and Virginia have joined WNCHN. This brings to 52 the number of hospitals enjoying increased supply chain savings through affiliation with the Asheville, N.C.-based organization’s group purchasing program.

WNCHN members have saved more than $31 million on top of savings from Premier contracts since the WNCHN group purchasing program began in 2001. An independent regional network, WNCHN is affiliated with Premier Purchasing Partners, LP, for its group purchasing programs. All WNCHN members are Premier owners or affiliates.

The newest members are

Lenoir Memorial Hospital, 261 beds, in Kinston, N.C., serving Lenoir and surrounding counties;

Wayne Memorial Hospital, 316 beds, in Goldsboro, N.C., serving Wayne and surrounding counties;

Maria Parham Medical Center, 102 beds, in Henderson, N.C., serving Vance and surrounding counties;

Loris Healthcare System, 105 beds, in Loris, S.C., serving part of Horry and surrounding N.C. and S.C. counties;

Stanly Regional Medical Center, 119 beds, in Albemarle, N.C. serving Stanly and the surrounding counties; and,

Buchanan General Hospital, 134 beds, Grundy, Va., serving Buchanan and surrounding counties.

Wayne Memorial Materials Management Director Bob Zongaro has been at the hospital for more than 21 years. “During that time we have had and continue to have a strong and rewarding relationship with Premier,” he said. “When it came time to review GPOs, it was a no-brainer to also choose WNCHN, which is affiliated with Premier. WNCHN impressed us with their professionalism during their presentation. They understand contracts and, more importantly, have the people and resources to make the savings happen.

“We have identified over $400,000 in product savings with no changes or product disruption,” Zongaro said. “Unlike other GPOs that promised savings, only as the result of painful product changes, which can take up to a year to realize, with WNCHN we saw immediate savings. We look forward to our new relationship with WNCHN.”

WNCHN Executive Director Gary Bowers said, “We are pleased to welcome these six well respected hospitals into the WNC Health Network. Our network is a collaboration of hospitals, county health departments and other healthcare providers to support the delivery of cost-effective, quality health services. Our focus is on helping the communities represented in the network and that dovetails with Premier’s core purpose of improving the health of communities.”

Premier Purchasing Partners President Mike Alkire said, “As one of the country’s largest group purchasing organizations, we use our $31 billion national buying power to leverage best-price contracts for members, but we don’t stop there. We have learned to harness the power of regional collaborations, such as WNCHN, to generate even greater value for participating members. We fully support these efforts. WNCHN’s success in aggregation and standardization among its member hospitals is saving participating Premier members additional millions, resources that are critical to improving the services they offer in the communities they serve.”

WNCHN Vice President of Member Services Tim Bugg said, “What sets WNCHN apart is the value we bring to our members — all our members, large and small. Our cost savings to dues average ratio is 22:1. Our members embrace the network. They are the reason our programs work. We are positive our newest members will both strengthen our network and realize substantial savings.”

Bugg added, “Our goal is and will continue to be to find as many cost reduction opportunities as possible to help our membership deal with the continued decreasing reimbursement, increasing costs, and growing uninsured and indigent care costs. At the end of the day it’s not about WNCHN, but the hospitals we serve.”

About the WNC Health Network (WNCHN)

The WNC Health Network is a collaboration of hospitals, county health departments and other healthcare providers to support the delivery of cost-effective, quality health services. WNCHN maintains a visionary community focus supported by collaboration, integrity and respect among its healthcare providers. Based in Asheville, N.C., it began in 1995 to identify, explore and implement cost-effective, collaborative opportunities among the hospitals and healthcare systems in western North Carolina and now includes 52 hospitals, 13 health departments and Mountain AHEC. A not-for-profit corporation with oversight from a 16-member board of directors, WNCHN is an independent regional network, helping members meet the challenges of a changing healthcare environment through activities including shared services, patient quality of care, and group purchasing.

About Premier Inc., 2006 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient

Serving 1,700 U.S. hospitals and more than 49,000 other healthcare sites, the Premier healthcare alliance and its members are transforming healthcare together. Owned by not-for-profit hospitals, Premier operates one of the leading healthcare purchasing networks and the nation’s most comprehensive repository of hospital clinical and financial information. A subsidiary operates one of the nation’s largest policy-holder owned, hospital professional liability risk-retention groups. A world leader in helping healthcare providers deliver dramatic improvements in care, Premier is working with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service North West and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to improve hospital performance. Headquartered in San Diego, Premier has offices in Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia, and Washington. For more information, visit www.premierinc.com.




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