The Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati said it decided to join AmeriNet because the buying group offered it more flexibility than other groups.
The six hospitals in the Health Alliance have been operating under a shared budget since January.
Previously, the hospitals belonged to Premier, VHA and University HealthSystem Consortium. None were members of St. Louis-based AmeriNet.
The Health Alliance will become part of AmeriNet July 1 through Hospital Shared Services, one of three AmeriNet shareholders.
Executives declined to estimate how much the Health Alliance would spend under AmeriNet contracts. Its annual operating expenses are about $744 million.
Under its Options program, AmeriNet will negotiate separate contracts for systems that can guarantee high compliance. In direct contrast, Premier is emphasizing high compliance with its national contracts (See related story, p. 138).
"We felt HSS/AmeriNet offered us the best ability to negotiate alliance-specific contracts," said Dick Seim, vice president of material services for the Health Alliance. "It will be easier to deliver compliance that is built on institutional-specific preferences. In selected cases, I think we will get better prices (than national contracts) through our unique market conditions.
The Health Alliance includes 459-bed Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, 60-bed Jewish Hospital Kenwood, Cincinnati; 233-bed Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati; 292-bed St. Luke Hospitals, with sites in Florence, Ky., and Fort Thomas, Ky.; and 463-bed University of Cincinnati Hospital.