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Why the name PRIME Services?

It evolved out of the early mission of the company to help long-term care facilities get the best pricing possible by combining their buying power. PRIME is an acronym for “Purchasing Requirements n Materials and Equipment.” At the time of our founding, 1983, over 35 years ago, hospitals had group purchasing organizations but there was no opportunity in the long-term care market for those same opportunities. So, we created one. It started with a core group of facilities and we have grown to over 3000 members.

Back in 1983, long-term care facilities were not able to achieve the same types of discounts that were available to the hospitals for the same products and services. In addition, many long-term care facilities had multiple people doing purchasing from their different departments buying similar supplies, paying vastly different prices, with no coordination of efforts.

Several years after PRIME began as a purchasing consulting company, we were invited to address a committee of the New York State Health Facilities Association (NYSHFA) who was looking at contracting out to a group purchasing organization to run a program for them. After several meetings, it was decided that they would like PRIME Services to develop a group purchasing organization for their members. At this time, PRIME Services had no members and no contracts, so we basically were starting from scratch and had to convince suppliers to offer us discounted pricing in the hopes that we would be able to sign up members. This was the start of our group purchasing organization.

Q – So PRIME Services was founded to fill a financial gap in purchasing opportunities between long-term healthcare facilities and hospitals. Has the mission changed over the 35 years?

As you might expect, the changes in healthcare created additional needs for the industry, and opportunities for PRIME. I am proud to say we have remained a family run business even as many of our members are being consolidated and purchased by larger organizations.

We know that taking care of the elder population is a special responsibility, and we pride ourselves in continuing to provide a hands-on approach to service for our members. We have made a conscious decision to remain completely focused on providing better pricing for the products and services our members use, so they can spend the savings on better care for their residents. The pricing pressures in healthcare continue to pinch the budgets of our members, and we pride ourselves in working side by side with our members to find savings.

We find savings by listening to our member’s needs, working with key vendors in the market place, and doing the leg work through cost analysis, bidding services, training, and consulting, all as part of our complimentary membership program. It really doesn’t help an organization to negotiate better pricing if they don’t have the time to do the cost comparisons, or they have no time to find three quality bids for a new commercial kitchen stove, so we fill that gap and take the time to do it for our members.

We continue to look at ways we can help our members deliver better care to their residents.

 Q – Can you share some of those ways you plan on continuing to help our members?

Today PRIME Services has a group purchasing organization and a technology division that compliment each other. The technology side is focused on food services and purchasing, and like the group purchasing division, has helped member facilities save a great deal of time and money.  Dietech is our key software program that assists facilities food service departments to track and manage their resident’s dietary needs.

I need to give the credit to the IT team. This software is making a positive impact in the way clinical staff, and the dietary staff handle resident’s needs. It is a fast-growing part of our business and it is all designed by our staff with a great deal of assistance from dietitians, dietetic technicians, certified dietary managers, food service directors, and health department personnel. I can see this software really changing the face of how our Food Service Directors manage their business. It replaces so many manual tasks and frees up time to spend on more positive experience for our member’s residents.

Let me give you an example. Our member’s that use Dietech can manage the menus at their facility with precision. The software tracks the resident’s preferences for the foods they like and dislike, but more importantly it reduces any manual errors regarding diet restrictions that can have an adverse effect on the health of the resident. I am proud of that feature. The software does so many things that help our members deliver better dining experiences. It ranges from upscale table side service at our assisted living communities, to simple management of tray table cards. I encourage anyone that is interested in learning about the multitude of features to go the Dietech website and check it out. (link to)

Q – It sounds like technology is a key focus going forward?

Yes, but we are also looking at some of the soft skill areas that can help our members deliver better resident experiences, reduce employee turnover, and generally we are looking to expand in all areas important to our members. One of the key differences we have over other GPO’s, is our ability to be flexible in making changes when we hear our members need help.

We are looking at delivering some training to help in the areas of employee engagement and reducing turnover. We are also looking to partner with consultants that deliver niche programs that we believe will be helpful to our members.

The important thing is that our Regional Managers and staff are encouraged to bring ideas from our members forward for consideration.

Q – Any additional thoughts?

I think it’s important to remember who we serve, and why it is important to continue to listen to our member’s needs. Healthcare is in the middle of a very disruptive period of change. We don’t know exactly what that change is going to be, but one thing is clear, we must keep resident care, and the organizations that care for our elders at the center of any innovation going forward.

This is a special responsibility we have to serve our elder community, and no matter what technology we develop, new ways to manage the cost of providing care, it all must be focused around the dignity of how we operate. Most people that work in healthcare were drawn to it because they have a goal to help people. We need to remember that helping people is the core of what we do. As a family run business, we remind ourselves often about the responsibility we have to our members. We plan to stay close to our members and ride this change with them and help in any way we can. It really doesn’t get much better than that when you reflect on your career.

Healthcare is a great place to make a positive impact. We here at PRIME Services hope to be serving our community for many more years to come.

We are proud to be in an organization that understands more than the bottom line. When you visit nursing homes, assisted living communities, hospitals, foster care organizations, and shelters, you realize that business is more than the bottom line. The way we operate has an impact on the communities we serve. It is valuable to know that you work for someone that understands the difference between simply making money and making a positive impact in the service you provide.