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The Many Benefits of Hosting a Vendor Summit
By: Mike Roche, Director of Business Development, The Alliance

As you begin the new year, you may be reassessing your benefit plan and vendor partners to help improve your employees’ health and wellbeing. If you want to enhance your employee experience, reduce spending waste, and improve vendor efficiency, consider holding a vendor summit for your health benefit programs.

What’s a Vendor Summit?

Employers often organize health-related benefit programs separately, independent of one another. The result can be a patchwork of overlapping vendors, who often target the same group of employees and family members with chronic conditions.

Vendor summits bring together all partners for a meeting that can help employers get more from their health benefits investment.

What “Vendors” Should I Invite?

A vendor summit brings together all your outside vendors and partners to identify services and set goals as part of an integrated approach to health, disability, and absenteeism. Early in your plan year, you should send a meeting invite to all the vendors who help you manage health-related services. Those stakeholders could include:
  • Broker/consultant
  • Primary network (The Alliance)
  • Pharmacy benefit manager (PBM)
  • Third-Party Administrator (TPA)
  • Employee assistance program (EAP)
  • Wellness program
  • Disease management/care management
  • Disability
  • Telehealth
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Other internal resources (on-site clinic, mental health, etc.)
If you are unsure on what services you should be including or who to invite, consult your broker – they should be able to help you gather your invite list and guide you through the process.

Preparing for the Vendor Summit

Before holding your summit, you should first analyze your benefit data to identify the top conditions driving your largest health care costs. This information will be invaluable in working with vendors and setting goals.

If you self-fund with The Alliance, contact your account executive to request a Smarter Healthanalysis; its data includes claims history, provider utilization, cost trends, and more. Smarter Health provides the foundation for a successful steerage program – one that guides employees to high-value health care – and the insights it provides would be invaluable for your vendor summit.

Creating a Shared Vision

The next step in preparing for your vendor summit is to create a shared vision to present to vendors. This vision typically has a dual focus:
  1. Enhancing your employee experience – all the benefits and health programs in the world won’t make a difference if your employees don’t use them. You should work together with your vendors to make the services you offer more attractive and accessible to your employees, creating employee “buy-in.”
  1. Reducing waste and inefficiency in your benefit program – The most important aspect of a vendor summit is to outline goals and roles, ensuring everyone knows the part they play and everyone’s aligned.
Integrated Health Management Opportunities

The vendor summit group should reach a consensus on the top conditions to target in the coming year, after which, you should calculate how many employees fall into what “stages” of risk for each condition.

For example, you may all agree to focus on diabetes, obesity, and preventative health screenings. An employee could be healthy (low-risk), pre-diabetic (high-risk), or diabetic (has disease and complications).

Proof in the Payoff

While few employers take advantage of vendor summits, they tend to be worth the effort. Employers of The Alliance who have hosted one say their vendors are more likely to share vital information, align activities with the employer’s strategic goals, participate in an integrated health management approach, and deliver measurable results.

And if you self-fund with The Alliance, be sure to request a Smarter Health℠ analysis for your next vendor summit! 

 
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