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News | April 8, 2019

Medical strengthens its partnership with VA to support military, veteran health care

By Shaun Eagan DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

A partnership between the Defense Logistics Agency and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reached a new high point as the agencies realize tangible results at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center.

The FHCC began using DLA Troop Support Medical supply chain’s Medical/Surgical Prime Vendor program in March. This is the first time a VA-administered medical facility will use the DLA Troop Support Medical program to acquire medical and surgical items through the program’s worldwide procurement system.

“The FHCC will benefit from using our program through faster access to a much broader catalog of medical supplies,” Steve Bollendorf, MSPV division chief, said. “Because our Med/Surg Prime Vendor program will have more items available, it’ll reduce the need for the FHCC to use government purchase cards on medical supplies, which causes the facility to pay higher prices and be more labor-intensive.”

During the ribbon cutting ceremony in March, leadership from the FHCC, which services 75,000 patients per year, agreed that the MSPV program would provide cost benefits, reduction in utilization of purchase cards and an expanded supply catalogue, according to a FHCC press release.

“The FHCC will get faster access to a much broader catalog of medical supplies because Medical’s MSPV provides for just-in-time, next day delivery,” Bollendorf said. “Because of the MSPV services, the FHCC can carry little to no stock in their own warehouse to support their facilities.”

This initiative provides a glimpse of what is to come through the partnership.

The FHCC is the only joint medical facility between Department of Defense and the VA. Ever since its transition in 2010, the medical facility has been under VA administration using VA contracting and acquisition programs.

However, in February 2016, a Government Accountability Office report identified ways the FHCC should use the DOD’s contracting and asset management programs for operational efficiency.

These identifications led to the DOD and VA Joint Executive Committee instructing the FHCC to change over to the Defense Management Logistics Standard Support by October 2019 in its fiscal 2019-2021 strategic plan.

“The implementation of DMLSS at the FHCC will have direct positive impacts on quality of care, patient safety, and access to care by the adoption of a single health care logistics system, rather than operating two disparate systems used by VA and DOD today,” according to the strategic plan. “DMLSS is also one of three components required to replace VA legacy IT infrastructure, in addition to a new health care record and a new financial management system.”

Medical allows non-DOD customers to make orders through the supply chain’s Electronic Catalogue. Knowing the transition to DMLSS is coming up in October, Medical worked to get the FHCC access to ECAT to take advantage of the MSPV program’s services ahead of time.

This initiative by Medical is what led to the ribbon cutting in March.  

“When the FHCC was established in 2010, it was decided they would utilize VA contracts and VA platforms to order their supplies,” Jim Catanzaro, a Medical supervisory customer relationship specialist, said. “Bringing the FHCC onboard through ECAT enables them to use Medical’s [MSPV] program [now], rather than waiting until Oct. 1, 2019 when they transition to DMLSS. Without ECAT, the FHCC would not have joined the program until they implemented DMLSS.”

The developments in the partnership highlight the commitment to improving military and veteran health care.

“I am happy that the FHCC will now have an easier time supporting their dual mission…our veterans and our service members and their beneficiaries,” Bollendorf said. “Working together to make this happen helped to build familiarity and rapport between DLA [Troop Support]’s and the VA’s staff and will further demonstrate the capabilities of the MSPV program and the DLA [Troop Support] Medical Team.”