2017 Affiliate Seat Candidate

Susan A. MorrisSusan A. Morris, CMRP
Healthcare Executive
Cerner Corporation
Kansas City, Missouri


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Describe why you are a good candidate for this leadership role.

My career has spanned retail, manufacturing and healthcare. As such, I bring a unique perspective to the healthcare supply chain. While servant leadership is a buzzword, it accurately describes my approach to partnering with diverse project teams. Everyone from the CEO to EVS brings value to the patient experience and should feel they are an integral part of the team. This attitude was helpful in on-boarding new physicians, collaborating on creating new clinical or business spaces and facilitating LEAN committees.

My previous employer, a healthcare organization, began implementation of a computerized system prior to the passage of the Accountable Care Act. Supply chain partnered with all clinical areas to create just-in-time, perpetual inventories in each clinical space therefore reducing the total cost of care. Although supply chain doesn’t have hands on patient interaction, the supply chain is integral to achieving the best outcome for the patients. The patients are (ultimately) why we do what we do.

The only thing that has ever been constant is change. In my current role, I have been a vocal advocate for improved on-boarding and training opportunities. Consequently, we have been able to create an introductory web-based program to introduce new associates to the world of supply chain and a two week hands on live learning experience with the hopes of increasing their success as a new team member. Teaching this course had been a most rewarding experience. Another joy of this role has been the ability to connect with several diverse teams and organizations across the country. We have created partner presentations with our clients at our national client event as well as at smaller clinical events on topics currently in the national spotlight.

Describe where you see healthcare evolving, and what you see supply chain’s role being in those future models.

As a Healthcare Executive for a group of new supply chain consultants, I get this question often. To say we are in an interesting period in history is an understatement. Most Americans can agree that the Accountable Care Act is not perfect. Nearly every healthcare organization (provider, vendor, and payer) could probably agree that there has been significant pain in one area or another since the passage of the Act. However, everyone could probably also agree that there are positive aspects that are helping everyday Americans. There is encouragement that the first pass at changing the law was not voted upon. Congress does need to address the shortcomings and the high cost of managing the ACA, but let’s put something together that is comprehensive and well thought out. The AHA has been on the forefront of this battle and their regular updates to their members has been very helpful in sorting through all the rhetoric.

The message I am conveying to my colleagues and clients is that we still have to move forward with the Meaningful Use requirements that become mandatory in 2018. Organizations have invested too much money into the technology infrastructure for that to go away, even if eventually it is not a mandatory regulatory requirement. As more facilitates have electronic health records and physicians can access that patient’s record regardless of where care has been provided, the expectation is that all the pertinent patient information is available at a click of a mouse. Organizations are going to demand more efficiencies to continue to reduce their costs. Margins are already slim, administrators want to see pay back on their information technology investment and supply chain has been squeezing manufacturers to lower their prices. Organizations start to have to drive improvements and efficiencies through automation to improve quality and lower extraneous costs.

Supply chain is one of just a handful of healthcare departments that touch every single aspect of the organization. We have a tremendous opportunity to take our organizations to the next level. There are still vendors that feel they don’t have to negotiate because they are too big to fail. Supply chain has been left out of negotiations for services contracts in many organizations. Supply chain still does not have a role in making organizational policy in many organizations. But we also have to invite departmental level managers and buyers into the discussion. They have to understand that their role is so much bigger than just ‘buying stuff to keep the place running’.

How will your leadership and vision strengthen AHRMM?

When healthcare originations face financial crises, unfortunately, education and travel are typically the first two areas to receive funding cuts. I am so proud of AHRMM for providing continuing education for the membership at no additional cost beyond the membership fees. As the current chair of the online education committee, we are already seeing substantial increases in the participation. It is encouraging to see the hard work the committee members and speakers have put into creating the presentations being so well received. Education is the first step to advancement.

The online education is utilizing several methods for providing education. Education topics can be accessed through SoundCloud and iTunes. Social media is how millennials and Gen Xers communicate. Even Baby Boomers are tapping into social media. How can AHRMM and the AHA utilize this to drive more traffic to our website and to increase membership? The website has undergone a transformation in the past few years, but it needs to continue to evolve to increase user friendliness and intuitiveness of the site.

Supply Chain Management is an area of study and even a college degree. Just a few short years ago, we were challenged to find a course on supply chain management let alone a degree program. Manufacturing typically has higher wages than healthcare organizations. Knowing this, how do we assist healthcare organizations in recruiting young, knowledgeable talent to this wholly rewarding field.

Small AHRMM chapters around the country struggle to attract members and then to provide continuing education credits. How can we help these small local chapters defray some of the initial costs, provide CEUs, grow their membership and therefore grow and support the larger parent organization?

AHRMM has many opportunities. The challenge will be to hone in on what will drive the most value. I stated in the beginning that ‘Although supply chain doesn’t have hands on patient interaction, the supply chain is integral to achieving the best outcome for the patients. The patients are (ultimately) why we do what we do.’ This is at the heart of the Cost, Quality, and Outcomes movement. We are the department in every organization that everyone relies upon and have the greatest opportunity to have the most impact. Our friends and family's health are too important not to have the entire organization working in unison to support the best outcome and quality care at the most reasonable cost.


Total number of years as AHRMM Member: 14
Years in healthcare: 14
Years worked in the healthcare supply chain profession: 14
Years worked in current position: 2
Number of direct reports: 0
Number of employees in your department: 30
Type of Organization you are employed by: Consulting Firm

Describe your current position and responsibilities:

Provide healthcare knowledge, support clients and consultants to create functional solutions, improve processes, and educate team members on healthcare best practices.


List service to local chapter and to AHRMM national, including all committee/task force involvement, and whether you served as a member or as chair, within the past 5 years.

Member of the local AHRMM chapters everywhere I have lived. Member of AHRMM Issues and Legislative Committee 2016, Member AHRMM Education Committee 2016, Chair AHRMM Education Committee 2017

List Annual Conferences, Leadership Training Conferences, and Thought Leader Summits attended, including dates and locations, within the past 5 years:

AHRMM16 San Diego, CA, Thought Leader Summit AHRMM 16, Attended annual conference: 2015-Indianapolis, 2013-San Diego, 2012-San Antonio, 2011-Boston, AHE annual conference 2014-Tampa, AHE regional education conference 2014-Cleveland, HPG conference 2011-Nashville, 2012-Las Vegas, UHC conference 2014-Las Vegas, UHC conference 2013-Atlanta, Cerner Periop conference Kansas City, MO 2016, 2017, Cerner Healthcare Conference Kansas City, 2015, 2016

Service to professional associations or community organizations to which you belong, including all committees, whether you served as a member or as chair, the year(s) of service, any elected offices held and the year(s) held:

Working on achieving FAHRMM. Active 4-H volunteer for 18 years in Ohio served as advisor for community club, teen board (3 yrs), on county leadership committee as Secretary (3 yrs) and on Family & Consumer Sciences Committee (10 yrs), volunteering with Missouri 4-H to develop special interest clubs (1 yr), served as committee member with local Boy Scout Troop for 14 years.