Imms Purchasing, Chapter 1: Main Street Vaccines

This is the kind of news that is too much at the cross section of the things that interest me that I can't pass up sharing it.  Now, if only I can get Iron Maiden to do a flu shot PSA, I'll be set.

Onto business: I understand that the AAP has been gathering data about the pot-pourri of immunization purchasing organizations across the country, but I haven't seen any of the results, yet (ironically, the AAFP has public reviews of the GPOs). I get a lot of calls from folks looking for advice about the different groups and, worse, I keep meeting practices who use no purchasing group at all!

So, over the next few weeks, I am going to run some quick free promotion for the handful of groups I know.  I can't recommend one over the others, as they each have strengths.  Some have national vision, some are quite local.  Some have education and practice management issues as part of their mission, others don't.  I am simply going to highlight each of these folks and encourage practices to get in touch with each of them to see which one "clicks" for you.

First up, Main Street Vaccines.  MSV is run by Dr. Allen Menken, one of PCC's long-time customers in NJ.  He may not remember, but I first met him in 1991 or 1992 when he gave me a big lecture about why capitation was such a good idea (his concepts were right on; capitation as practiced by the insurance companies is another matter).  I asked him to give me a little personal background and description of Main Street Vaccines, here it is:

I built Main Street Vaccines to be a highly centralized business operation with a very pragmatic try and save money for practicing docs by getting group prices and terms on vaccines. 

Almost everything goes through my hands (I have someone doing payables, a bonded accountant drafts and sends out rebate checks and audits the books.)  I am putting a part time field person on in January to service some of our accounts a little more intensely.  There is no political agenda, no spin. 

Almost all my communication is by internet.  Newsletters such as you receive go out about quarterly or whenever something important happens.  As you know, I just put us on Google (which incidentally has done amazingly little to date.) 

I can only estimate the number of doctors we have, because we only register practices.  There are over 1800 practices, some of them are solo, many of them are groups, some in 20-100 doctor range.  Best gestimate is about 5000 doctors.  We are heavy in NY, NJ, PA with spread into Mass, Maine, and the Southeast.  We have a handfull of practices in very distant places and I am not really sure how we got them. 

Our contracts are exclusively with Sanofi Pasteur and Merck. Members are encouraged to be on both contracts, but they can pick either/and/or.  I am not delusional enough to think we can make policy for companies that size, but we have developed enough of a business relationship that I can at least get their ear and sometimes there minds and checkbooks. I have entertained other companies at times, but they can't match the product line, prices, terms, service. 

We have a discount credit card processing service;  a general office supply contract is in the works but will not be signed before Feb. 09. The main things that I think set us apart are a commitmentment to near instantaneous response and responsibility (someone is getting our prices within two busines days of the time they contact me), a lot of personal contact, a boots on the ground perspective (Plaza lives and dies by these contracts) and a great track record.  I have a strongly held fiduciary responsibility to our members and never forget it.   We have met or exeeded our annual rebate for six consecutive years.  We work on a voluntary compliance basis.  I have to remove less than 1% of our members for non-compliance annually  and our member retention rate...outside of the practices I remove is over 99%, so we must be doing something right. 

Thats about it.  Just doing the best I can to get us big without getting us fat. Thanks for the help, 


This was a good summary and I appreciate Dr. Menkin letting me use him as a test subject.  After I write up the 4 or 5 other folks I know well, I'll place all of their contact info together.

To find out more details, contact Main Street Vacs here:

Phone: (908) 581-3931
FAX: (908) 979-4916