The Rural Health Alliance was formed in 1983 by four rural hospitals in West Central Minnesota. The initial focus of the Alliance was to band together regionally to address new Medicare DRG payment rules. Eight charter members incorporated in 1987 and formed the company Rural Health Services, Inc. a 501e not for profit hospital shared services cooperative. They hired an Executive Director and began sharing medical equipment between the hospitals. Since its inception, the company has developed and managed the following programs: regional group purchasing, courier service, emergency preparedness coordination, shared radiology equipment, shared technical staffing, nurse staffing pool, telemedicine, and regional data exchange planning. In 1995 the Rural Health Alliance partnered with MediSota, Inc. in Dawson MN to form a physician recruiting program. In 2001 the consortiums created an Allied Staff recruiting program. To date the recruiting program serves over 40 hospitals in Minnesota.
The eight charter hospitals formally incorporated Rural Health Alliance, LLC in 2004. The LLC is a for profit member owned limited liability company. The LLC was formed in response to the growing group purchasing business. In 2011-12 the LLC added three more shareholders.
The Rural Health Alliance (RHA) Purchasing Program started in 1996 with 6 hospital members. The initial focus was to standardize GPO services among members. The Purchasing Program's goal is to reduce supply chain cost by aggregating dollar volumes and maximizing vendor commitment. In September of 2007 the RHA became a marketing affiliate of national GPO MedAssets. In February 2016 Vizient purchased MedAssets Spend and Clinical Resource Management and SG2 Business. The combined organizations created the largest GPO in the US with over 4,500 hospitals and over 200,000 clinics, and manages more than $100 billion in spend with 2,500+ national contracts.
The Purchasing Program fosters collaboration and networking among members. The RHA formed five networking groups called Purchasing Advisory Committees or PACs. PAC members have developed several preferred distributor and manufacturer contracts in the areas of med surg, lab, pharmacy, radiology and dietary. These contracts are extremely competitive. Most manufacturers and their distribution partners view the RHA as a virtual Integrated Delivery Network. This provides our members best tier pricing.
The RHA / Med Assets Group Purchasing partnership brings great value as well as flexibility to members. There are no dues or fees to join and there are no high compliance commitments that are forced on members. The RHA provides purchasing services to over 150 members including hospitals, clinics, surgical centers, long term care, and other non-acute and non-medical customers within sixteen states today.
“To provide a vehicle for ongoing communication, coordination, cooperation, integration, and unity of purpose for member health care entities. Improve patient care while containing health care costs, promoting access to and expanding health care resources in member systems. To do collectively what cannot be accomplished individually.”
RHA is delivering industry leading value for providers and the patients they serve through unique sourcing strategies that proactively aligns clinical input and sound business principles to deliver sustainable cost reductions. The RHA strategy is to utilize national, regional, and local contracts that ensure aggressive supply chain pricing to realize greater savings for our members and an increased bottom line, while maintaining quality and patient satisfaction.