History of Advantage
Advantage was founded in 1969 under the name CAP-NO-DAK (Commodity Association Purchasing of North Dakota). One of the original pioneers of group purchasing for both long-term care and hospitals, we now serve well over 200 facilities in the Dakotas, Minnesota, and eastern parts of Montana and Wyoming. In the late 1970’s, clinic contracts were added where there were products and services in common with hospitals, such as Laboratory and limited medical surgical devices and supplies. Advantage launched one of the first manufacturer contracts for XRAY film for both clinics and hospitals. Other innovations included pharmacy agreements like Flu Vaccine, Chemotherapy drugs and adult and children’s vaccines. Distribution agreements were developed to work closely with regional suppliers emphasizing on-site representation and/or local warehousing.
In 1980, we joined forces with two other association-based groups, establishing a regional alliance to share negotiations resources and consolidate volume to deliver more competitive pricing and services. As our membership grew more diverse, Advantage continually sought to free up time to work on-site with client facilities. We sought a new alliance with greater resources to provide a more spohisticated contracting system, harnessing greater expertise and leverage.
Advantage affiliated with Amerinet at its founding in 1986, and renewed our affiliation long-term in May 1997.
Adantage employs a staff of five. Two more field support personnel are deployed in the Twin Cities area by Amerinet to enhance member service capability. Amerinet provides specialty resource personnel that travel with us to facilities and provide professional expertise at regional meetings. Other Amerinet support teams complete spend analysis studies and field member questions that require specialty research.
Advantage members often have on-site visits and regional meetings that address specific issues that require member input or education. A staff specialist is retained for regional agreements and capital equipment research and is available through a 1-800# hotline. Annually, we hold an educational networking conference called UPDATE, including a vendor fair, which complements professional and personal development speakers.
The Advantage/Amerinet system has delivered exceptional success in negotiating with the top two market leaders in most product categories. Amerinet uses its leverage to generate pricing on preferred products that other groups often have to risk substitution of generic alternates to receive. Multiple distributor selections insure that delivery of strong contract pricing occurs without sacrificing value-added services from vendors. This results in both higher compliance and end-user satisfaction. Combining input from non-acute and acute member’s results in the nations’ broadest, most flexible group contracts and distribution. Advantage also maintains a basket of regional agreements vendors or products of regional importance and are membership driven, complemented by a committed program known as the Northern Star Alliance, composed of hospitals, surgery centers and larger clinics that cross commit to aggregate volume.