John W. Strong, a key architect of Premier's powerful group purchasing program, has left the 1,800-member hospital alliance for a consulting job.
Based in Chicago, Strong was chief operating officer of Premier Purchasing Partners until last month, when he departed for Concepts in Healthcare, an Ashland, Mass.-based consulting firm.
Strong, 44, was instrumental in negotiating Premier's blockbuster group purchasing contracts with companies that include Baxter International and Johnson & Johnson. He had worked for Premier and one of its predecessor organizations for six years.
Since the Premier alliance was formed in January 1996 through the merger of three major alliances-American Healthcare Systems, SunHealth Alliance and Premier Health Alliance-the group has signed more than 266 contracts. The total annualized value of those pacts hit $7.5 billion last month. After additional contracts are completed later this year, Premier anticipates the annualized value of its group purchasing contract portfolio will exceed $9 billion.
Premier is seeking a replacement for Strong and has retained an executive search firm to identify candidates, a spokeswoman said. Strong has a 90-day transitional consulting arrangement with Premier, and he will continue to work on special projects until year-end, Premier said.
At Concepts in Healthcare, Strong will advise manufacturers and health systems on how to change supply strategies to cope with the financial pressures exerted by managed care and reduced payment rates. He will remain based in Chicago.
"It's a tremendous opportunity to work with providers and manufacturers to help them adjust to what's going on," Strong said. There's major "change in the marketplace, and that leads to tremendous opportunity."