Hospitals today want their supply network to reflect the same level of diversity as their community. That’s where HealthTrust’s Supplier Diversity Program comes in.

Designed to not only encourage diverse suppliers—particularly those owned by minority, woman, veteran and service-disabled veteran enterprises (Diverse Business Entities, or DBEs)—to contract with HealthTrust, the program staff also facilitates relationships with its member hospitals.

In the past 20 years, HealthTrust’s Supplier Diversity Program has grown from a goal of $23.4 million in diversity spend with 18 contracts, to a goal that is on track to exceed $320 million in 2020, with more than 160 DBEs.

Between 2014 and 2018 alone, member spend on diverse contracts increased by 50%.
Joey Dickson

“We want to create opportunities for diverse suppliers to provide their products or unique services to the HealthTrust membership,” says Joey Dickson, Chief Diversity Officer and Assistant Vice President for Purchased Services Strategic Sourcing.

Timothy Martin

“Supplier diversity enhances the supply chain by bringing greater innovation and by driving greater value through cost reductions, competitive contract terms and conditions, and improved service,” says Timothy Martin, Manager, Contracting, Laboratory & Supplier Diversity for CHRISTUS Health. The CHRISTUS supplier diversity program “aligns with our commitment to having diverse leadership and equity of care for the communities that we serve,” he adds. “Ultimately, supplier diversity demonstrates consistency with CHRISTUS Health’s core values.”

The supplier diversity program at CHRISTUS Health provided part of the impetus for HealthTrust’s newest initiative: The Supplier Diversity Council. Composed of 11 integrated delivery systems, all with their own robust supplier diversity initiatives, the Council is designed to identify best practices that can be disseminated throughout HealthTrust’s membership, communicate about sourcing and savings opportunities with DBEs, and better align HealthTrust’s supplier diversity goals with those of the members, says Dickson. Ultimately, he says, “We believe this initiative will increase the use of diverse suppliers across our members’ supply chains.”

“It’s a great platform that brings together thought leaders to collaborate and share best practices,” says Martin. “It has the potential to accomplish a great deal. By combining all the input from representing member organizations, we are creating a toolkit other health systems can use to start a supplier diversity program.”

The supplier diversity program at CHRISTUS Health recognizes that sourcing products and services from previously underutilized suppliers helps to sustain and progressively transform a company’s supply chain, thus quantitatively reflecting the demographics of the community in which it operates by recording transactions with diverse suppliers.

– Healthcare Group Purchasing Initiative.
Supplier Diversity Business Practices in the Healthcare Industry, 2017

Taking a proactive approach

Janet McCain

For many years, HealthTrust relied on diverse suppliers to approach the organization to request consideration. “But now, with the Council and the support of senior leadership we’re being more proactive,” says Janet McCain, Director of Business Diversity. That includes developing a closer working relationship with the national as well as regional offices of the major certifying agencies and other impactful organizations with initiatives toward supplier diversity.

HealthTrust also updated its contract life cycle management system to alert the Diversity team when each contract category kicks off. It recently partnered with a third-party data collection company to analyze member data for diverse supplier spend and identify suppliers that may meet the criteria for diversity but may not be classified as such in the system.

Additionally, for the past two years, HealthTrust has hosted an annual Supplier Diversity Symposium in which vendors spend time together onsite in Nashville, Tennessee. “It’s an opportunity for us to meet, develop relationships and build rapport with them,” says Dickson. The symposium is also a time to educate, collaborate and update suppliers about changes to the program and potential opportunities with new member hospitals.”

What members can do to promote & grow supplier diversity

The first thing members can do is review the current portfolio of diverse suppliers on contract and make sure they are compliant with all sole source awards. Next, consider diverse suppliers with dual, multi, diversity or optional source status when the value the diverse supplier brings is more favorable than the competitors on contract.

When approached by prospective suppliers, members should direct them to register on the HealthTrust website at

TO LEARN MORE about HealthTrust’s diverse supplier contracts, contact Janet McCain at janet.mccain@health

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