The GPO said it surveyed 127 C-suite executives at 112 hospitals in 32 states last February as part of its spring 2014 Economic Outlook report.
More than ¾ of the respondents – mostly hospital CEOs, CFOs and COOs – said their provider organizations have programs in place to cut expenses.
"Providers report a number of initiatives to better control spending and improve overall efficiency. More than 3 quarters (77.5%) of C-suite executives have resource utilization programs in place to better control the use of expensive supplies and purchased services," according to Premier. "This trend is most pronounced among large facilities (87.1%), and integrated delivery networks (82%)."
Healthcare providers, especially small hospitals and IDNs, are also focusing on reducing the length of patients’ stays, with 60.8% of the executives reporting the use of clinical quality programs to that end. That rate was 75% for small hospitals and 72% for IDNs, according to the survey.
Reimbursement cuts including market basket and productivity adjustments and pay-for-performance penalties included in the Affordable Care Act loomed largest in the executives’ minds as the most frequently cited trends expected to impact providers over the next year.
"There’s no question that reimbursement cuts put a severe strain on tight hospital budgets," Premier COO Michael Alkire said in prepared remarks. "But hospitals have also made great strides in improving operational efficiency and clinical quality, which has enabled them to better manage the reductions.
"Shifting to new care delivery models designed to better manage population health involves a heavy up-front investment," Alkire added. "As more hospitals make this transition, it’s probable that we will see these cost centers grow in magnitude over the next few years."