Amerinet Awards Medline with Closed-Suction Catheter Agreement; "Trach-Eze" Features Unique Elbow Access Valve to Reduce Infection and Cost

MUNDELEIN, Ill. - AmeriNet, Inc., the nation's largest membership-based health care group purchasing organization (GPO), has entered into a three-year agreement with Medline Industries, Inc., the largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of health care supplies in the United States, for closed suction catheter systems. The agreement begins February 1, 2003.

The agreement features "Trach-Eze," a unique modular designed closed suction system that improves patient and caregiver safety during routine suctioning and catheter cleaning. At the same time, the modular nature reduces the cost of suctioning ventilated or tracheostomy patients. Mundelein-based Medline participates in the manufacturing of Trach-Eze and holds the exclusive rights to market Trach-Eze in the United States.

A closed-suction system enables clinicians to clear unwanted mucus build-up from the airways of ventilated or tracheostomy patients without the need to disconnect the patient from the ventilator or aerosol source.

The modular three-piece design of the Trach-Eze Closed Suction System features three components: a separate Elbow with an Elbow Access Valve, the Catheter Assembly and the Suction Control Valve. After suctioning and when in the closed position, the patented valve on the Elbow provides and isolates the patient from the Catheter Assembly. This unique design provides significant benefits over traditional one-piece systems:

-- The Elbow stays connected to the patient during the catheter change, which eliminates unnecessary "disconnects" from the ventilator, thereby reducing the patient's potential for ventilator-acquired pneumonia (VAP) and other nosocomial infections.

-- Helps eliminate the possibility of accidental saline lavage to the patient when cleaning (or maintaining) the catheter. (Saline is commonly used to clean the catheter and is often inadvertently lavaged into the patient's airway.)

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-- Helps eliminate clinician and environmental contamination when opening the irrigation port.

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-- Helps to eliminate both stress and physiological compromise to the patient during the cleaning (or maintenance) of the catheter since no PEEP, FiO2 or Vt will be lost as the saline is suctioned through the catheter.

The catheter component also features calibrated depth markings that helps to reduce mucosal trauma and infection potential by providing the caregiver a means by which to follow the American Thoracic Society Recommendations for safe suctioning.

In addition to the physiological benefits, the modular design also lowers the cost of the replacement catheter. With the Trach-Eze system, each catheter change is done using a lower-cost catheter assembly replacement, which allows the elbow with the patented valve to remain with the patient until the vent circuit is changed. This differs from the typical one-piece system that requires the entire system (elbow, catheter and suction valve) to be replaced with each catheter change.

"Trach-Eze delivers tangible benefits to the patient and value to the health care facility that competing catheter systems don't provide," said Marc Lessem, vice president of marketing for Dynacor, Medline's manufacturing division. "It enhances patient care and offers significant cost savings to AmeriNet members, benefits that are very compelling in today's competitive healthcare environment."

Medline was founded in 1966 but the company's roots in healthcare date back to 1910 when it was a garment manufacturer. Headquartered in Mundelein, Illinois, Medline is the leading direct supplier of medical products and equipment to the health care industry. Based on sales of over $1.4 billion in 2002, Medline is the largest privately held national manufacturer and distributor of medical supplies in the United States. The company has more than 650 dedicated sales representatives nationwide to support its broad product line and cost management services. Medline distributes more than 100,000 products to hospitals, extended care facilities, surgery centers, hospital laundries, home care dealers and agencies and other alternate site markets from its 27 distribution centers in the U.S. With six manufacturing facilities in North America, Medline manufactures many of the products it sells.

Source: Medline

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