The Healthcare Group Purchasing Industry Initiative, a voluntary ethics initiative aimed at averting federal legislation regulating GPO business practices, said it had enlisted bipartisan support from four senators and seven healthcare associations. The senators did not include Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Herb-Kohl (D-Wis.), chairman and ranking member, respectively, of a Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee that has been investigating GPO business practices over the past three years. All four senators supporting the initiative -- Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) -- are members of the Judiciary Committee. Kyl and Schumer also are on the Senate Finance Committee. At the same time, the healthcare associations, including the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Catholic Health Association, issued a joint statement supporting the initiative and underscoring GPOs' role in containing healthcare costs. At deadline, DeWine and Kohl had not responded to requests for comment.
Nine of the nation's largest hospital GPOs have signed on to HGPII, which promotes voluntary disclosure of business and ethics practices. Organizers said summary responses to a GPO questionnaire on business and ethics practices will be posted online at healthcaregpoii.com by Oct. 1. -- by Cinda Becker