Henry Ford health system: New and strict vendor policies begin Jan. 1

Beginning Jan. 1, Henry Ford Health System will implement a series of strict and unique policies – including the nation's first certification of vendors for medical facilities – aimed at eliminating potential conflict of interest between relationships with vendors and employees.

This move is in keeping with the ‘just-say-no' approach espoused by the American Medical Association and other health care leaders, ranging from Stanford University School of Medicine to the University School of Medicine to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, all of whom have adopted similar policies to create a clearer divide between medicine and product marketing.

Among its unique features is a policy that requires medical, surgical and pharmaceutical vendors visiting a Henry Ford location to be certified through a Henry Ford-sponsored certification class, obtain identification and make appointments in advance. The cost for the certification class and the Henry Ford badge is $100 and is due at the time of the training.

The certification program insures that vendors visiting a Henry Ford location are knowledgeable regarding all policies, procedures, and requirements including those addressing privacy and confidentiality.

"The new vendor policy eliminates uninvited vendor access to Henry Ford physicians and patients without prior written consent, in addition to prohibiting free lunches, small gifts and other perks," says Mark Kelley, M.D., CEO of the Henry Ford Medical Group.

The policies were developed with patient safety in mind and will restrict the number of unknown products entering Henry Ford, set up protocols for product reviews, establish an evaluation, education, and communication process to track new products, and allow a more professional relationship with vendors.

These include:

  • Requirements for vendors doing business at Henry Ford locations and restricts the induction of products without purchase orders. Invoices will no longer be paid if there is not a corresponding purchase order. The policy also provides guidelines for staff when selecting vendors or ordering goods and services.

  • A New Product Introduction Policy, to establish a formal product request, evaluation, and introduction process. The policy provides a process by which all new products, proposed product changes, and product replacements are reviewed and known prior to use.

  • A Consignment/Loan Policy that helps identify and manage consigned or loaned equipment, instruments and other products. It also establishes a guideline for products consigned and/or loaned to Henry Ford.

  • An Emergency Procurement Policy that outlines the procedure for processing a procurement occurring on an emergency basis outside normal business hours.

  • A Vendor Policy that requires visiting vendors to obtain certification through Henry Ford's Vendor Compliance and Management Department. The vendor/organization is required to be an approved vendor prior to registering for credentialing. Vendors must be certified and call to request an appointment with Henry Ford staff or physicians by calling a designated vendor appointment call center. The call center will e-mail the Henry Ford staff for confirmation of appointment prior to acceptance.

In addition, any vendor participating or observing in a clinical procedure area will have additional requirements related to health and safety and are required to wear black scrubs to be easily identified.

Vendors will receive a status of their appointment request via e-mail with a confirmation of their appointment. They must stop at the location designated by the confirmation to check in on appointment day with a copy of the appointment confirmation.

Promotional products of any kind, food supplied by vendors or literature distributed by vendors, will no longer permitted at any Henry Ford site.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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