Help with the MDS 3.0 Hearing Modification Section through Sammons Preston

As you know, one of the major goals of MDS 3.0 was to increase the residents voice by introducing more resident interview items.

We are pleased to advise you that we have negotiated with Sammons Preston to achieve a substantial price break on their Pocketalker and Pocketalker Ultra.  Both of these devices amplify sound for better understanding and provide clear, high quality sound.

The pricing we nave negotiated is provided below and is 50% or more off the normal everyday price.  These items must be ordered by telephone for the special pricing.

Catalog #  Item #  Description    Price
557234  081122167 Pocketalker Pro with earphone  $122.86
564370  081410893 Pocketalker Ultra System  $120.00

In order to receive the special pricing on these items and all of the other items under our agreement with Sammons, please make sure you have a letter of participation on file with our office.

Adaptive Equipment and Supplies through Sammons Preston

We are pleased to announce that we have recently renegotiated our agreement with Sammons Preston for lower prices on the top items used by our members.  Sammons Preston has a complete line of adaptive equipment and supplies for the Dietary Department as well as Nursing.

For a complete list of all the adaptive equipment and supplies available, visit Sammons Preston’s website at  

Lowest Price isn't always the Best Price

Doing a comparison of prices is the easiest step in what should be a multi-faceted approach to securing the best price.  Too often to the detriment of the facility, this step is the only one undertaken and usually the lowest price is chosen without taking into account other very important factors and steps needed to secure the best deal.

Of course the number of steps that need to be taken to obtain the best price will vary based on the product, its complexity and relationship in use to other products.

Provided below are factors to take into account to achieve the best price, not necessarily the lowest price: 

  1. Does the product come in different sizes or quantities per case that will provide a lower cost per unit used?
  2. If the product is one that the quantity used is less than the package size, can the balance of the product be used or is it thrown out?
  3. Is there another product that can perform the same function at a lower cost per unit used?
  4. Is the product readily available through your normal distributors or will it require a special order?
  5. Is there a minimum quantity that you will be required to purchase which could add to your inventory costs?
  6. Is the product used in conjunction with other products, what is the impact?
  7. Will training of staff be required and if so, how much time will be taken away from their normal responsibilities?
  8. Can technology be used to reduce staff time and/or make the products use more efficient?
  9. Can converting to a new product free up staff time?
  10. Can you change your process to reduce or eliminate the need for this item?
  11. Talk with other facilities, your group purchasing organization and suppliers to determine if there are other options.
  12. What is the length of price protection?
  13. Will the product improve the health and well being of your residents?


If you would like to learn more about controlling costs, please visit our website at, or if you would like to meet with your PRIME Service’s Representative to discuss opportunities to control costs at your operation, please call our office at 866-585-3344.

Your Prime Vendor Program

All suppliers want to be the primary vendor to your operation given that you of course meet minimum orders and pay your bills timely.

The two key reasons for utilizing a primary vendor are better overall pricing, as well as better service.  Of course a prime vendor program should provide additional benefits such as fewer deliveries, fewer invoices, fewer items backordered and much faster response time to any problems.

When evaluating a prime vendor program as opposed to splitting your orders between two or three suppliers, you of course need to take into consideration the above points.  These points need to be weighed between the use of a prime vendor program and multi-vendor approach.

A prime vendor relationship must be established for a definite length of time.  The suppliers that were not successful in becoming your primary vendor should be given the reason and when they will have another opportunity.  It is important to maintain a good relationship with suppliers that were not awarded your business as things change and you may need to call on them during the course of your agreement.  You want these suppliers to be responsive to you and this will only happen if they feel they have a fair opportunity to gain your business at the conclusion of the current agreement.

Too often a prime vendor relationship becomes an on-going relationship with no definite length of time agreement.  In almost all of these cases, the prime vendor loses sight of the value and importance of your relationship and starts to take it for granted.  Ultimately you may be treated as just a me-too customer and all the initial benefits are gone.  Yet many operations stay in this primary vendor relationship because they are afraid of change and know that even if the service and pricing is not as good as it used to be, it is still a known entity versus exploring other options.

In any relationship with suppliers, we must remember that there will be a time when changes will have to be made.  Allowing any supplier to become securely entrenched in your operation will increase costs and decrease service levels as they start to take your account for granted.

  • Prime vendor programs work when definite time frames are established.
  • Prime vendors should provide better costs and service.  This must be monitored.
  • Work with other facilities or your Group Purchasing Program to organize a prime vendor program that will provide more purchasing power.
  • Maintain a good relationship with the suppliers not awarded the prime vendor agreement.
  • Don’t become overly comfortable with just one supplier.

Managed Order Guide

A term that we seem to be hearing about more and more is “Managed Order Guide”.  A managed order guide helps direct the person placing orders to the specific product that has been approved for use at your operation. The purpose of the managed order guide is to maintain a consistency in terms of the product being ordered.  The product that has been approved for use within your organization should have been evaluated for quality as well as price considerations.  These product evaluations must be an on-going endeavor and not a one-time event.

The products that your organization has evaluated and decided on are products that meet the needs of your operation; therefore, product substitutions by your supplier need to be frowned upon.  The managed order guide, in addition to providing a brief description, should also provide the following:

  • Brand name
  • Pack and size
  • Price
  • Distributor and/or manufacturer number
  • Inventory level to maintain

An effective managed order guide will keep quality of product consistent, as well as lower total costs.  The guide lowers total cost because of the product evaluations that have and continue to be conducted, as well as discouraging off inventory ordering.  In the many situations we have studied, off inventory ordering is one of the largest contributors to increased costs and inconsistent product quality.  Also, keep in mind that a Material Safety Data Sheet may be needed for new products that are brought into stock.

A managed order guide can work equally well within a manual or automated ordering system.  The key to a successful managed order guide is the constant evaluation of products being ordered and the consistency in ordering the same approved products.

Finally, as the economy has not improved and people as well as companies have become more desperate, order scams have increased. A managed order guide along with the approved list of suppliers goes a long way in helping to insure that your operation is not victimized by a scam.

Briggs Announces Free MDS 3.0 Forms

Customers who purchase an MDS 3.0 User's Manual, Long Term Care Survey Guide, or MDS 3.0 Online Training subscription by October 1st will receive a FREE exclusive electronic license for instant download of the new Briggs MDS 3.0 Assessment Forms for 1 year. 

Please click on the link below to find out more about this offer from Briggs.

Briggs.pdf (286.81 kb)

Phoenix Textile E Catalog

Click on the pictures below to access the ecatalogs. 


Office Supply Expenses

Each year during August, September and December, office supply usage goes up.  We have tracked this usage for the last seven years.  During August and September, your employees may find it easier to grab some supplies for their school age children than running to the store.  In December, these same items make great stocking stuffers for the holidays.

The money spent on office supplies is only one to two percent of your budget, yet these supplies cause much more of a headache because everyone seems to have an opinion on what they want.  It is important to control the office supplies provided for people to do their job.  An order guide of approved supplies should be  created and adhered to.  There should be no off contract order guide purchases allowed.

An order guide will also help to standardize the supplies used and therefore keep costs down if done properly.  For example, at one facility, they were ordering pastel colored post-it-notes at twice the cost of the single colored post-it-notes because the pastel color matched the wallpaper in an office.  Further, don't assume that smaller 5" x 8" ruled paper pads are less expensive than the 8 1/2' x 11' ruled pads.  Many times the office supply distributor gets better pricing on the products they do a larger volume on and in this case, it would be 8 1/2" x 11" paper pads.

Five easy steps to control office supply expenses are:

1.  Create a standardized order guide.

2.  Utilize bids with net pricing for the items on your order guide.  The PRIME Service's Group Purchasing Program can help.

3.  Monitor inventory levels.  Overstocking of supplies costs money because invoices will be paid long before the supplies are used and it increases the chances of pilferage.

4.  Talk to your office supply distributor to see where they get the best deals and use these items in your order guide.

5.  Communicate your office supply ordering policy to all staff.  Orders should be coordinated through one department not placed by several departments. 

Don't waste money, let PRIME Services assist you in reducing costs, increasing cash flow and improving operational efficiency.



Briggs - Patient Photo Record System

Click below to get more information on the Patient Photo Record System from Briggs.

PPRS.pdf (988.88 kb)

Keeping Per Resident Day Cost Down

Every two or three years most long-term healthcare facilities go out to bid for their food and associated supply needs; however, every year it seems the cost per resident day increases. The question that must be asked is, is the overall increase in costs per resident day justified? It is not enough to create a Request For Proposal (RFP), receive bids back from the distributors and choose what is considered to be the best proposal. An active involvement must take place on an on-going basis to evaluate and re-evaluate all factors that contribute to the expense of running the food service department.

It is easy to say that the food and supplies have been bid out. It takes a very dedicated effort to keep costs per resident day down. This effort needs to encompass activities such as:

  • On a quarterly or semi-annual basis, run a descending dollar report. Understand these expenses and how you may be able to reduce them. Typically about 20% of your physical items will be responsible for about 80% of your spend.
  • Question the size of products being purchased in terms of waste as well as determining if a smaller size may be a better value.
  • As new menus are implemented, have a supervisor in the dish room watching what food and supply items were not eaten or used. Evaluate whether these items should be on the menu or placed on the resident’s tray.
  • Monitor and understand your costs per resident day overall and by category. How do these per resident day costs compare with other facilities.
  • Technology can be a great tool to improve operations and reduce time spent on repetitive actions.

PRIME Services

PRIME Services, from its original roots as a purchasing and consulting company in 1983, has grown into one of the largest group purchasing organizations for nursing homes and assisted living communities across the United States.

Today, PRIME Services has three divisions, all focused on removing costs from the supply chain while increasing operational efficiency. The three divisions are; Group Purchasing and Custom Contracting, Consulting and Purchasing Services (CAPS), and a Technology Division

Be sure to mention you're a PRIME Services member when calling in to ensure you receive additional discounts that are available exclusively to PRIME Services members.


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