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Bellwether League, Inc. Robert T. Yokl, healthcare value analysis, value engineering advocate, remembered by Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership Hall of Fame

SCHAUMBURG, IL (July 23, 2024) — SCHAUMBURG, IL (July 23, 2024) — For a sizable swath of provider-based healthcare supply chain professionals, Robert T. Yokl served as a popular gateway to value analysis education and learning.

Robert T. Yokl
Robert T. Yokl

In fact, those new to the industry and/or profession or in working in smaller urban, and suburban and rural organizations, Yokl functioned as gatekeeper and key master, providing a plethora of relevant and useful advice, recommendations and tips on developing, implementing and improving fundamental and best-practice value analysis processes, programs and thinking.

Yokl knew, understood and respected his audience, many of which served faithfully in the trenches of healthcare supply chain management and relied on his consulting, content and intelligence about supply chain, value analysis and purchased services to help their clinical customers succeed for their patients as well to help them improve within their own careers.

Yokl shared with Bellwether League Foundation in 2018 the contribution for which he would like to be most remembered. "I educated a generation of supply chain/value analysis professionals in the art and science of value analysis," he said.

To encourage anyone to enter the healthcare supply chain field, he knew what he would tell them. "If you like people, have an analytic mind and are service-oriented, healthcare supply chain management is one of the greatest career paths to enter because the satisfaction in your job will be never-ending," he said.

On Friday, July 12, Yokl gave his final salute to healthcare supply chain and passed away. He was 81.

Bellwether League Foundation (BLF) inducted Yokl into the Healthcare Supply Chain Hall of Fame as an honoree in the Bellwether Class of 2018.

Barbara Strain, CVAHP, Chairman, BLF's Board of Directors, and a fellow veteran advocate and evangelist for value management in healthcare, marveled at Yokl's grassroots and groundbreaking contributions to healthcare.

"Bob was an icon to the value analysis profession," said Strain, Bellwether Class of 2021. "His data-driven approach and involvement of the caregivers working with supply chain were the vestiges of what is referred to as clinical integration. He will be remembered as challenging us to think differently and to make a difference. On behalf of the Bellwether League Foundation, we send sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues with the knowledge that he will forever hold the distinction as an inductee of the Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership Hall of Fame."

"Our profession just lost a true gentleman and a great man of high character," said Gary Rakes, Bellwether Class of 2021, and Chairman, BLF's Advisory Council. "He will be sorely missed."

Yokl spent 59 years in healthcare supply chain — 37 of which were devoted to healthcare supply chain and value analysis consulting and 22 in provider- and supplier-based supply chain management.

Throughout his career, he worked with more than 500 hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, healthcare systems and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) since he founded Strategic Value Analysis in Healthcare in 1987, helping them generate more than $500 million in savings. Yokl later rebranded the company as SVAH Solutions to reflect and signify the wealth of print and digital/online content and consulting services that he, his son Robert W. and their team offered.

SVAH Solutions, with all its growing content, software and consulting services continues with Robert W. Yokl succeeding Robert T. at the helm.

Yokl served as a passionate and vocal advocate for value analysis within supply chain operations, penning regular opinion columns on topics spanning value analysis, supply utilization, purchased services and other operations with an emphasis on best practices, for such industry publications as Healthcare Purchasing News, The Journal of Healthcare Contracting and Hospital Materiel Management Quarterly (published back in the early 1980s by Charles Housley, Bellwether Class of 2008) for many years.

Through SVAH Solutions, he offered a library of printed and digital/online newsletters, reports and white papers (including "How to Build Blockbuster Value Analysis Teams"). Robert T. co-authored with Robert W. e-books (including "Healthcare Supply Utilization Revolution — The Future of Supply Expense Management"), conducted the "Healthcare Supply Chain Best Practices Podcast" that continues today and approaches 200 episodes, and co-developed software for clinical supply utilization, supply chain savings validation and value analysis, making the "Utilizer Dashboard" something of a household name within hospital supply chain management offices.

He also actively supported SVAH Solutions' own Healthcare Value Analysis and Utilization Management Magazine, which Robert W. launched a dozen years ago and carved out the company's online Value Analysis Academy six years later.

Yokl had been a speaker at many regional AHRMM chapters as well as national annual conferences for GPOs, associations and independent conferences on topics ranging from value analysis to supply utilization management. He recognized that there was more to value analysis than merely forming category teams and having them facilitate group purchasing contracts and new product requests. This motivated him to adapt the classic tenets of value analysis espoused by the pioneering Larry Miles from General Electric Co. to greater heights within the healthcare industry.

Yokl began his healthcare supply chain career following high school graduation when he served as a purchasing assistant at a local Catholic hospital, Holy Redeemer Hospital, in Meadowbrook, PA. "It became a professional goal to be a supply chain manager after I saw what a positive impact supply chain could have on a healthcare organization," he told BLF back in 2018. He later attended Temple University's School of Business Administration where he majored in organizational management.

Yokl worked at Holy Redeemer for two years before enlisting in the military and serving as a U.S. Navy Corpsman for three years. In 1965, Yokl returned to hospital practice, serving in materials management for the next decade in a variety of progressive leadership roles at four different hospitals in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. As a side note, William McFaul, Bellwether Class of 2008, succeeded Yokl at the New Jersey hospital.

Yokl then migrated to the supplier side of the industry, serving for four years as vice president of operations for Philadelphia-based medical supply distributor Charles Lentz and Sons. He next became director of materiel management consulting for MEDIQ Inc. for seven years, where he was responsible for the design, implementation and monitoring of materiel management programs for MEDIQ's owned, managed and client hospitals, nursing homes and other nonacute care facilities, along with providing materiel management consulting to hospitals and nursing homes around the country. Yokl developed and managed MEDIQ's cooperative purchasing programs for its owned and managed hospitals and subsidiaries.

Yokl spent 52 years with Lions Club in first the Willow Grove (PA) Lions Club and then the Skippack (PA) Lions Club, serving as president in both clubs. He also served as the Lions Philadelphia Region Diabetes chairman. He received the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award, the highest form of Lions recognition that embodies humanitarian ideals consistent with the nature and purpose of Lionism.

In his younger days, Yokl was a regular dancer on the "Grady & Hurst TV Dance Show." A voracious reader and prolific writer, he loved Broadway radio music and the Mummers.

Yokl is survived by his wife Patricia (Ford) Yokl; their daughter Karen Coulter (Ralph), son Robert W. Yokl (Dana) and daughter Christine Klementisz (Jason) as well as five grandchildren and a great grandchild.

A viewing service was held on Friday, July 19, followed by a funeral Mass at the Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Lansdale, PA.

For those who would like to make a contribution in his memory, the Yokl family asks to consider the Skippack Lions Club, P. O. Box 159, Skippack, PA 19474.

About Bellwether League Foundation

Bellwether League Foundation (BLF) offers programs that educate, endow and evaluate professionals in healthcare supply chain performance excellence via the Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership Hall of Fame and its growing philanthropic efforts.

The Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership Hall of Fame evaluates and validates professionals submitted for consideration in its three award programs: Bellwether Honorees, Future Famers and Ammer Honorees. The Hall of Fame also offers educational and professional development content via the Bellwether Leadership Forum and its "Leaders & Luminaries" multimedia of online and printed content.

The Hall of Fame selects deceased, retired and currently active professionals with a minimum of 25 years of exemplary service and leadership performance in supply chain operations that meet its criteria to be recognized publicly as Bellwether Class Honorees.

Future Famers represent supply chain professionals early in their healthcare careers who do not yet qualify for Bellwether consideration but have contributed meaningfully to the profession and industry.

Honorees who receive the "Dean S. Ammer Award for Healthcare Supply Chain Performance Excellence" represent noteworthy executives and professionals in the middle of their careers who, through their innovative leadership and influential project management experience, best exemplify the practice and spirit of healthcare supply chain performance excellence.

To date, the Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership Hall of Fame has honored 143 innovators, leaders and pioneers in healthcare supply chain management in seven distinct categories: Provider-Based Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing, Distribution, Group Purchasing, Consulting Services, Academia and Media. The Hall of Fame also has recognized 42 Future Famers and four Ammer Honorees.

BLF's philanthropy efforts support capstone educational and developmental projects, grants and scholarships to college-bound high school students who plan to study supply chain curricula, current collegiate students who major in supply chain-related careers and professionals who pursue continuing education through associations and universities.

BLF salutes its six sustaining sponsors at the Founding/Platinum level — GHX, HealthTrust, Owens & Minor, Premier, Vizient and Wingfoot Media — and more than 19 additional sustaining sponsors at the Gold, Silver and Bronze levels, a generous group that represents manufacturers, distributors, group purchasing organizations (GPOs), integrated delivery networks (IDNs), consulting firms, associations and media outlets.

Launched in late July 2007 by a group of influential veterans in the healthcare supply chain industry, Bellwether League Foundation began as a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit corporation that upgraded to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in January 2021.