Alan Weinstein retired from his last full-time role as president of Premier Inc. about 12 years ago. Although retired, Weinstein remains very engaged in the healthcare industry in many unique ways.
Weinstein has served as a mentor to hundreds of healthcare professionals throughout his career, inspiring the reference that he’s “the best connected person in healthcare” because he develops and fosters long-term, lasting relationships with so many people in a variety of different organizations.
Weinstein graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1964, and from Cornell University with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration in 1966. From there, he spent two years working for the United States Public Health Service, Division of Indian Health in both Gallup, NM, and Harlem, MT.
Every organization that benefited from Weinstein’s advice, direction, experience and leadership has added the following attributes to its operations and cultural framework.
Weinstein has a diverse set of experiences in healthcare, and spent his entire career helping hospitals and healthcare providers develop shared programs and economies of scale. He served as President and CEO of the North Suburban Association of Health Resources prior to 1977. This association counted most Chicago “North Shore” hospitals in its membership base and provided a variety of services to them.
From 1977 to 1983 Weinstein was employed by the Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) as Executive Vice President. He was responsible for creating a number of new programs for them, including Group Purchasing, Biomedical Equipment Maintenance and Management Engineering. These were “firsts” for IHA and his creation of the Management Engineering program was truly innovative at that time, particularly in the Midwest. Few hospitals recognized the value of Management Engineering in studying process and examining the costs of various procedures and the methods of how they were performed.
In 1983 Weinstein founded the Consortium of Jewish Hospitals. One of the Consortium’s first programs was Group Purchasing. Weinstein’s interest in providing meaningful value back to members could be seen again with the creation of his “Value Index,” a program that manually measured the savings (on an annual basis) of the use of each GPO contract for each member. Using this Index, he travelled tirelessly to add Jewish hospitals to the group. This usually involved meeting with hospital executives and materials managers throughout the country.
Weinstein’s inclusive and collaborative style led to the growth of the Consortium to include almost every Jewish heritage hospital and health system in the country. It also led to non-Jewish hospitals seeking membership. As a result, in 1986 the Consortium changed its name to Premier Health Alliance. Membership growth continued, and Premier began crafting meaningful relationships with not only leading hospital systems but healthcare associations and groups as well. They included, The American Association of Eye and Ear Hospitals, Child Health Corporation of America, The Greater Cleveland Hospital Association and The Greater New York Hospital Association.
In Weinstein’s view, “value” always needed to be measured in terms of meaningful savings to his members — not the dollars collected from the Contract Administration Fees (CAF). While anything that was returned was certainly counted, cost savings and value though progressive terms and conditions were Weinstein’s favorite way of expressing value.
Premier provided (and still does) a Value Index for each Shareholder and member on an annual basis. Weinstein also insured that most of the value from the collection of CAF was returned to the organizations that earned it on an annual basis. For this reason, the return on CAF to members was, and has continued to be, among the highest in the nation.
Although value returned to healthcare members was always at the top of Weinstein’s list, he maintained (and still does to this day) solid respectful relationships with suppliers working with Premier. His door was, and still is, open to anyone who does business with him or his companies. Even during times of tremendous disagreement with suppliers and others, Weinstein maintained solid relationships through candor, honesty, and a bit of humor.
Premier meetings always had high educational value for attendees from the CEO and the rest of the C-Suite to Pharmacy and Materials Management. Weinstein saw to it that speakers at these meetings were always the thought leaders in the industry, and he spared little expense on the educational aspects of these meetings. Meeting innovations included the following.
Weinstein has been an outstanding mentor to his staff over the years, and occasionally organizes “reunions” to bring people back together. Perhaps even more importantly, he continues to be a mentor — often for the staff found in the C-Suite of healthcare providers around the country. He continues to maintain relationships with people he mentored 25 years ago, for example.
Although he was in a number of senior leadership roles, Weinstein has always made it a point (even today) to remain engaged with the folks who ran or run supply chain in member and non-member facilities. Many of the ideas and developments that he fostered in supply chain came from his ability to network with purchasing and supply chain leaders. He maintains many of those contacts today, even in retirement.
Weinstein has always enjoyed a highly positive reputation throughout the healthcare industry, and with the boards on which he served. As a result of his ability to make and keep connections, he is probably one of the “most connected” individuals in the industry. His connections range from medical device manufacturers to hospital executives to association staff and across all of the major GPOs.
Weinstein has always enjoyed the confidence of his superiors and the Boards to which he has reported. For example, Weinstein reported to Robert W. O’Leary at the Illinois Hospital Association. It was Weinstein and O’Leary years later that made the merger of Premier Health Alliance and American Healthcare Systems possible, along with the SunHealth Alliance to create Premier Inc.
The confidence others have in Weinstein is reflective of his passion for his work, and his ability to achieve his goals and deliver significant value to his members. He has always insisted on value to members first — sometimes at his own expense. His ability to bring diverse audiences together to form new alliances is unquestionably a strong suit. He always maintains a vision for “what is possible,” not what the challenges might be.
The organizations founded and operated by Weinstein have delivered literally billionsof dollars of value to the owners and members across his career. He has been a prolific writer, and is usually willing to share his views, vision and experiences if he believes it will add value within the healthcare industry. At the same time, he is completely humble about his accomplishments and achievements despite having been one of the “quiet leaders” within the industry and group purchasing for more than 30 years.
Even in his “retirement” Weinstein continues to be a force in the healthcare industry in many ways with his leadership changing the supply chain and the industry for the better throughout his career.