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Improved IHS Material Support: More Health Care for the Dollar

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Final rept.

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In 1988, the Indian Health Service IHS, an agency of the U.S. Public Health Service PHS, spent about 82 million to provide its hospitals and clinics with pharmaceuticals, supplies, and subsistence. From that amount, we believe that IHS can save between 7 million and 13 million by improving the service it receives from its major supplier, PHSs Supply Service Center at Perry Point, Md., and by changing its own inefficient supply methods. We recommend three major steps that PHS and IHS should take to achieve those savings. First, we recommend the PHS take immediate steps to transfer control and operation of its supply service center at Perry Point to IHS. The Perry Point Center is the most significant Government supply source for IHS, and IHS is by far the Centers largest customer. Yet, in comparison with other government supply depots, the Perry Point Center offers IHS poor service and charges it higher prices. In fact, IHSs own central warehouses routinely outperform the Perry Point Center. We attribute the Centers poor performance to the absence of a well-defined mission and to inadequate guidance from its parent agency, the Health resources and Services Administration HRSA, which has no internal need for a large supply depot. Because it stands to benefit from better medical material support, IHS has a much stronger incentive than HRSA to lower the Perry Point Centers prices and raise its level of service. Transferring the Center to IHS control is the best near-term way for the agency to reduce supply system costs.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Medical Facilities, Equipment and Supplies
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

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