VHA-UHC Alliance NewCo, the company formed following the merger of VHA and UHC hospital networks, has announced its new name.
Beginning in the new year, the Irving, Texas-based group purchasing and performance improvement company will be called Vizient. Company leaders intend to create a brand identity that honors the strengths of both the VHA and UHC legacy companies, according to a news release.
“We recognize that the ever increasing demands in our country to improve healthcare performance require advanced thinking, smarter analytics and collaboration to drive best practices,” said VHA-UHC Alliance CEO Curt Nonomaque. “Vizient is ready to address these challenges in a manner that meets the individual needs of our members.”
The Vizient brand will also replace Novation, the company's GPO brand, Nonomaque said in an interview.
“It really reflects key things about our organization … visionary, expert, experienced,” Nonomaque said. “We felt like it was a great name for the organization.”
VHA, a national network of not-for-profit hospitals, and UHC, an alliance of academic medical centers, combined in April. The new company handles over $50 billion in purchasing volume and serves more than 5,200 health systems and 118,000 non-acute customers.
“There's no question that this is going to be a large organization,” Nonomaque said. “But when I look at where this organization comes from … all of these organizations approach their customers in a highly customer-focused and very customizable way.”
MedAssets leaders have expressed optimism about the Vizient brand and its ability to communicate “a new day, a new organization, and a new company working as one with a tremendous value proposition,” Nonomaque said.
Already, the combined organization has announced its intent to expand by acquiring the GPO and consulting business of MedAssets, which serves about 3,300 hospitals and 123,000 non-acute providers, representing over $59 billion in total spending. Though the companies have a number of overlapping customers, the deal will help Vizient maintain its position as one of the largest, if not the largest, healthcare GPOs.
If the deal is successful, MedAssets will be phased into the Vizient brand over time, a VHA-UHC spokeswoman said.
Some experts and industry insiders have expressed concern that the mammoth GPO created by the acquisition would be inconvenient and of less value to providers. Former executives at Broadlane, a rival GPO that MedAssets acquired in 2010, say that the Alpharetta, Ga.-based company is suffering its own identity crisis and that it still hasn't quite integrated Broadlane's culture or satisfied its former customers.
The VHA-UHC spokeswoman said a logo for Vizient will be unveiled once the brand identity is rolled out in January.