Who is FirstChoice?

FirstChoice is a Texas non-profit corporation created and operated to provide "purchasing" (which is a governmental/administrative function pursuant to Chapter 791 of the Texas Government Code) of goods. The Cooperative satisfies governmental competitive bidding requirements pursuant to Texas Government Code Section 791.025(b), which notes that "a local government" may agree with another local government, including a non-profit corporation that is created and operated to provide one or more governmental functions and services, "to purchase goods." Its purpose is to establish an association of healthcare providers, city and county municipalities, school districts and universities as a cooperative with emphasis on the administrative function of cooperative purchasing for all the members of the corporation. 

 Who administers the Cooperative? 

FirstChoice Cooperative is managed by FirstChoice Management Services, who administers and handles the daily activities of the Cooperative based upon the members' requests and recommendations. The members actually govern the activities and direction of the Cooperative through regular users meetings.

Who can participate in the Cooperative?

Membership is open to all healthcare providers, city/county municipalities, nonprofits, school districts and universities.  There are no membership fees and there is no volume-tiered pricing! 

How does the Cooperative process work?

The Cooperative has regular scheduled meetings where each member has the opportunity to identify products and/or services for which we should seek a bid proposal. Members determine which vendors should be sent a request for proposal. Once the proposals are received, they are placed on the monthly agenda for review and ratification by the membership in order to become a Cooperative agreement.  Every member present at the regular users meeting has one vote, regardless of facility size, and the majority vote prevails! 

How do I order?

Each member places their order either directly with the Cooperative manufacturer or with its authorized distributor, as per the agreement terms. FirstChoice Cooperative only negotiates and executes the agreements ratified by its members. The individual members perform all orders and only reference the Cooperative agreement.  

What are the benefits of membership?

Becoming a Cooperative member allows the end user to have a voice in the contract portfolio. By combining our cooperative volume, we will reduce your supply expense significantly, and Patronage Dividends are paid on all agreements utilized.

What are Patronage Dividends?

Patronage Dividends are cash incentives paid by the contracted vendor for your participation and commitment to the agreement that you voted into the Cooperative portfolio. Every co-op agreement not only saves at invoice, but also creates a new revenue source through Patronage Dividends, which lowers your supply expense even further.

How do I join?

To join, please contact Mark Bombyk at our toll-free number 1-800-250-3457. 
It pays to make the right choice with FIRSTCHOICE COOPERATIVE!
You have nothing to lose
but supply cost!  
About Us About Us

FirstChoice Cooperative (FCC) began in the summer of 1995 under the name East Texas Regional Cooperative with five hospitals. Due to interest from other healthcare providers beyond the East Texas region, municipalities, educational institutions and community businesses, FirstChoice expanded its reach across the nation. Members now include hospitals, healthcare facilities, MSO clinics, rural clinics, home health agencies, reference labs, emergency medical services, community businesses, municipalities and educational institutions. Due to this growth, we changed our name to FirstChoice Cooperative in 1997. FirstChoice Management Services was formed in November 1998 to manage the daily activities of the Cooperative.  

July 1999:  FCC entered into an exclusive endorsement with TORCH (Texas Organization for Rural and Community Hospitals) Management Services, which includes a membership of over 150 hospitals in the state of Texas. www.torchnet.org 

June 2001:  FCC developed a Non-Healthcare Division to market to cities, counties, school districts, educational institutions and community businesses. Combining our healthcare volumes with non-healthcare volumes has reduced costs for both divisions, as well as generated additional revenue through Patronage Dividends. The first city to join FirstChoice Cooperative was Tyler, Texas, which realized cost reductions of as much as 30 percent and created a new source of revenue through Patronage Dividends. 

March 2003:  FCC embraced technology and utilized the Internet to communicate instantly with our members and manufacturers via e-mails, a web-enabled contract database and file transfers. 

January 2004:  FCC continued to improve the co-op's infrastructure by upgrading our co-op management system. 

January 2005:  In order to meet our objective of ensuring the best collection rate of earned dividends in the industy, FCC began the electronic capture of member purchases. This capability was part of the co-op management system upgrade.

Summer 2005:  FCC implemented the Co-op Management System Sales Reporting Module,so the sales team could have immediate access to information as they visited each member. This information allowed each member to verify, on a monthly basis, all reported purchases and compliance.

Spring 2006: The FCC sales team expanded to include a Texas Panhandle-based representative, who also provided service to members in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas.

Spring 2008:  FCC expanded into Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia. FCC was endorsed by the NRHA (National Rural Health Association), expanding its membership into all states. 

March 2009:  FCC became "Provider of Choice" in a marketing agreement with the Indiana Rural Health Association, bringing additional cost savings and value to their network members.

October 2010:  Mississippi Rural Health Association signed an exclusive endorsement of FirstChoice Cooperative as its preferred partner for group purchasing services.

December 2010:  FirstChoice Cooperative became the preferred partner for group purchasing services for the South Carolina Office of Rural Health.

April 2011: FCC updated its website to provide quicker access and better information for our members and business partners.

January 2012:  Virginia Rural Health Association signed an exclusive endorsement of FirstChoice Cooperative as its preferred partner for group purchasing services.