CHICAGO, March 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The New England Regional Health Care Cooperative (NERHCC), based in Holyoke, Mass., today announced a multiyear agreement for supply chain services with UHC, effective March 1. Members of NERHCC recently expressed an interest in having a full contract portfolio to complement the cooperative's portfolio of mostly regional, committed contracts. After soliciting proposals, NERHCC concluded that the affiliation with UHC best aligns with the NERHCC's goal of offering members a unique opportunity to work with a regional purchasing cooperative with the backing of a national organization. The NERHCC hopes that the new program will serve as a platform for addressing some of the region's supply chain challenges. Under this agreement, the NERHCC will be granted access to UHC's group purchasing contracts and related supply chain services, including integrated analytics, tools for improving utilization and standardization, performance management services, and networking and educational programs. "The alliance with UHC is a centerpiece of NERHCC's strategic plan," said William McFarland, president of NERHCC and senior director of materials management, Cambridge Health Alliance. "Providing hospitals with avenues to reduce supply chain costs is critical to survival in today's health care market." "We are pleased to help the members of NERHCC optimize their supply chain performance and cut costs without sacrificing quality," said Jake Groenewold, UHC's senior vice president, Supply Chain. The NERHCC is currently seeking to add new members interested in working in a collaborative effort to enhance their supply chain and contracting experience. Richard M. Buzzee, executive director of NERHCC, noted that the cooperative had recently adopted an open membership model and had begun to implement plans to make it more appealing to potential members in the area. About NERHCC The NERHCC has been in existence since 1995. It was formed under the leadership of the former president of NERHCC, Michael Zwirko, vice president of operations, Holyoke Medical Center, and current secretary/treasurer of NERHCC's board of directors. The cooperative's current members include Cambridge Health Alliance (Cambridge Hospital, Whidden Memorial Hospital, and Somerville Hospital), Holyoke Medical Center, and Brattleboro Retreat, Brattleboro, Vt. For more information or to become a member of NERHCC, visit nerhcc.org or contact Richard M. Buzzee, executive director, NERHCC Corporate Offices, 575 Beech Street, Holyoke, MA 01040, or call (413) 534-2824. About UHC UHC is an alliance of the nation's leading nonprofit medical centers, which are focused on delivering world-class patient care. Based in Chicago, Ill, UHC fosters collaboration with and among its 119 academic medical center and 293 affiliated hospital members through its renowned programs and services in the areas of comparative data and analytics, performance improvement, supply chain management, strategic research, and public policy. UHC helps its members achieve excellence in quality, safety, and cost-effectiveness. Formed in 1984, UHC's membership includes a majority of the nonprofit academic medical centers in the United States. Novation, LLC, is UHC's contracting company that provides medical/surgical and pharmaceutical supplies, capital equipment, and distribution services to health care organizations across the country. For more information, visit uhc.edu.