Supplier Diversity Helps Hospitals Fulfill Their Mission

In most communities, healthcare facilities are an equalizer: Local residents of various social, racial and ethnic backgrounds may live in separate neighborhoods and attend different schools, churches and synagogues, but they can all find care at the same hospital. And increasingly, healthcare facilities seek to reflect their focus on serving people from all walks of life by doing business with diverse suppliers.
HealthTrust works with many members to help increase supplier diversity, and it is proactive about seeking contracts with minority-, woman- and service-disabled veteran-owned enterprises (MWSDVEs).
“A diverse supplier program promotes competition, builds stronger communities, creates jobs, drives creativity and fuels economic development,” says Michael Berryhill, HealthTrust’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “HealthTrust’s commitment to supplier diversity not only supports HealthTrust’s core values, but also supports our members in achieving their diversity goals.”

Driving Economic Development

HealthTrust member Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), based in Englewood, Colorado, is devoted to supplier diversity for both economic and moral reasons.

“Supplier diversity is important to CHI because it aligns with our mission, which urges us to promote social justice as we create healthier communities,” says Rosalyn Carpenter, chief diversity officer and vice president for diversity and inclusion at CHI. “We energize the communities we serve when we intentionally utilize the innovation, quality and savings opportunities of diverse suppliers for needed business solutions.”

One of the most important ways that CHI achieves diversity among suppliers is by actively seeking occasions to partner with minorities, women, veterans and other small-business owners, Carpenter says. Typically, supply chain operations within a health system identifies prospects, notably suppliers of medical, surgical and commodity products. When possible, CHI also opens doors for diverse suppliers in the areas of construction, facilities investment, human resources and other purchased services.
It’s simply the right thing to do from the standpoint of fairness, Carpenter says. But it also makes good economic sense, allowing CHI to cut costs as well as contribute to a vibrant economy.

Today, MWSDVEs are the driving force behind the growth of the U.S. economy, Carpenter says, creating jobs that support individuals, the well-being of families, and entire communities.

For other hospital systems interested in building a strong supplier diversity program, Carpenter recommends working with a consultant to establish the framework, 
identify their current diversity spend and define future MWSDVE spend goals. In addition, Carpenter endorses the sharing of best practices among the “brain trust” of hospital systems, group purchasing organizations, insurance companies, manufacturers, distributors and retail providers that are members of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

New Leader, Renewed Vision

Recognized as a model in the industry, HealthTrust’s supplier diversity program provides a sizable roster of contracts with diverse suppliers and expertise on building relationships with them. Currently, 89 MWSDVEs hold 165 contracts with HealthTrust.

Agreements with these nationally certified diverse suppliers represented more than $267 million of annual contract volume in 2016, according to Janet McCain, director of business diversity.

“Our continued success is a result of contracting with, and then fully supporting, diverse suppliers that can provide excellent service, quality products and increased value to our membership.”

HealthTrust verifies certification of companies before considering them for a contract award. Certification is accepted from NMSDC, WBENC, the Small Business Administration or the Association for Service Disabled Veterans.

The program acquired new leadership in August 2017, when Joey Dickson took on the role of assistant vice president for supplier diversity. He also continues to serve as HealthTrust’s assistant vice president of strategic sourcing for purchased services. Dickson, who joined HealthTrust in 2007 as corporate counsel, is a member of the Federation of American Hospitals, Nashville Health Care Council and the Tennessee Bar Association.

“We believe the relationships Joey has built in the purchased services space will be an asset to growing diversity spend, since many of the opportunities reside with local or regionally based service providers,” Berryhill says.

In his position, Dickson wants to maximize the participation of minority-, woman-, veteran-owned and other small businesses in HealthTrust’s contracting process.

“I look forward to working with diverse suppliers ready to compete for a spot in our contract portfolio,” he says.

An expanding vision for HealthTrust’s supplier diversity program reflects the goals of the most progressive health systems within our membership, Berryhill adds. “We plan to promote inclusion in such a way that our contracted suppliers mirror the diversity found in the communities served by our member hospitals.”

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