Bellwether League, Inc.George E. Ainsworth (1924-1985)

George E. Ainsworth

Advancing the Profession/Industry Influence – Challenging the norms, contributing to the thought process, pushing the envelope in terms of moving the profession/industry forward. Examples include serving as a mentor either within his or her individual organization or on a national, regional or local level outside of his or her individual organization; internal inservices for the C-suite on supply management; pioneering new concepts and ideas that may or may not become reality; influencing those up and down the corporate hierarchy on the benefits of and promotion of sound supply management.

George Ainsworth was instrumental in the success of GPOs associated with the hospital associations in the states of Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Delaware, as well as Long Island, Rochester, Syracuse and northern metropolitan New York, in addition to regional organizations in western Massachusetts and Detroit, MI.

Ainsworth’s healthcare supply chain career spanned several hospitals as well as the venerable Hospital Bureau Inc., where he gained fame as HBI’s purchasing director.

In the early days of the GPO business, the Hospital Bureau Inc. (HBI), which is regarded as the nation’s first GPO, had a major impact. Organized in 1910 to serve as an economical and efficient purchasing agency for its member hospitals as well as conduct research on hospital supply quality and standards, New York-based HBI helped spread the concept of group purchasing throughout the East Coast by partnering with hospital associations to coordinate the buying power of their members under well-conceived policies and procedures. The guidelines for committed volume contracting, one member-one vote and administrative fee funding were key contributions. At its peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s, HBI represented more than 600 hospitals throughout the nation.

Ainsworth also served as director of materials management at St. Peter’s Hospital, Albany, NY, and before that he served in a similar capacity at Washington County Hospital, Hagerstown, MD. He joined HBI after working for Hotel Corporation of America.

Work Experience – Minimum 10 years of service within the healthcare supply chain (including a hospital or non-acute care facility, manufacturer, distributor, GPO, consulting or service company).

While he didn’t serve as HBI’s president, Ainsworth was its main driver for 15 years in the 1960s and 1970s, listed as its “purchasing director.” He also oversaw materials management activities in two different New York hospitals.

Work Performance – Specific accomplishments and achievements in their respective organizations, including expense management measures, committee involvement and management leadership.

Ainsworth broke new ground in supply contracting by advocating administrative contract fees paid by pharmaceutical and medical/surgical supply manufacturers under the guise of committed-volume contracting and a pay-to-play philosophy. Yet, he was happy to sacrifice the growth of HBI in favor of the greater savings to the member regional groups through their committed volume contracting efforts, signifying his true professionalism and dedication to the mission of group purchasing.

Professional Activities – Minimum 5 years of active association participation (e.g., office holder, committee chair or contributor, organizing and running meetings, mentoring others) on the national, regional and local level; performed a minimum of two speaking engagements (national, regional, local, facility) and published at least twice (including writing an article or being interviewed by the trade media) during career.

Ainsworth was an active member and officer of the Group Purchasing Group (GPG) and spoke at numerous meetings of healthcare materials managers. He was passionate about group purchasing and shared his insights and knowledge with those who worked for HBI and others in the industry. His impact is still felt today. Ainsworth also served as a consultant for the National Bureau of Standards Experimental Society Incentives Program where he hosted workshops on such topics on specification standards for medical materiel, performance measurement and value management. He was a member of the American Society for Hospital Purchasing and Materials Management (ASHPM), the International Material Management Society, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).