by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | July 20, 2016
From the July 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
HealthCare Business News interviewed Mary Beth Lang, RPh, MPM, D.Sc., the Chair of the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management (AHRMM), and vice president, HC Pharmacy and SCM Commercial Services, UPMC in Pittsburgh.
HCB News: How did you get involved in health care?
My first job was working for an independent pharmacy in my neighborhood. The owner was woven into the fabric of the community, serving far beyond the traditional role of a dispensing pharmacist, as an advisor used in a supporting role to primary care. I was later inspired to go to pharmacy school at the University of Pittsburgh and started my career as a pharmacist at UPMC. I was first introduced to the impact pharmacy and supply chain have on cost, quality and outcomes during the patient episode of care and the patient experience.
HCB News: When and why did you join the AHRMM?
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I joined AHRMM over 10 years ago as AHRMM was recognized as the leading health care supply chain association when my career expanded to include responsibilities in supply chain management.
HCB News: What benefits does a membership in AHRMM deliver to an individual?
For me, I was looking for an association focused on health care that offered education in supply chain management, provided opportunities to network with peers to learn leading practices, and was a thought leader in emerging trends or regulatory changes. AHRMM continues to help individuals:
• Connect with peers who share and support your professional interests through online and in-person networking opportunities.
• Accomplish more with a wide range of educational opportunities, tools and resources.
• Get involved and advance [their careers], AHRMM and the profession.
HCB News: Has ongoing hospital consolidation helped or hurt the association?
Consolidation in general has impacted the supply chain field in many ways. Many health systems supported travel to local, regional and national functions and also paid for part or full membership dues. Through consolidation, systems may send fewer individuals to these events. For example, military membership has reduced as a result of cuts to travel and education funding. The field offers webinars, podcasts and other online resources to help individuals stay current.
Through consolidation, systems have increased the reach of health care supply chain management and are now responsible for all non-labor spend, adding sourcing areas that were not under management in the past. During this expansion, systems are looking outside of health care or in clinical areas for expertise. Many of these individuals are joining organizations such as AHRMM. This is not just happening on the provider side. It is also happening on the supplier affiliate side as well. This is why the background of membership has become very diverse. The AHRMM Board composition is representative of this diversity. Board members come from outside of health care, a physician, a former ICU nurse, a pharmacist, several members that have careers in multiple segments of the supply chain channel provider, GPO, manufacturer and distributor, and a member working in the government sector.