The Equity of Care Call to Action is an initiative of the American College of Healthcare Executives, American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, Association of American Medical Colleges, and Catholic Health Association of the United States. The initiative has published this guide, which provides action steps and case studies about developing and implementing a supplier diversity program. By adopting a supplier diversity program, hospitals and health care systems can support minority-owned businesses and communities while obtaining products and services of competitively high quality and value.

There are numerous benefits for hospitals or health systems that prioritize supplier diversity, including:

  • Greater innovation and value through cost reductions; better contract terms and conditions and improved service
  • Expansion of external partnerships – often nontraditional – in the community
  • Local job creation and other community benefit
  • Supplier roster that mirrors the patient and community populations
  • Better understanding of supply chain sourcing process and sources
  • Easier compliance with government and grant contracting requirements around supplier diversity

To increase supplier diversity, a health care organization should consider these steps:

  1. Define goals for a supplier diversity program and draft a clear mission statement. Create a code of conduct that ensures fair access to all suppliers.
  2. Incorporate these goals into the hospital’s or health system’s strategic plan and include specific targets for diversity spending. Frame supplier diversity goals as strategic and business imperatives, rather than simply “the right thing to do.”
  3. Communicate with your group purchasing organization to ensure its practices reflect your hospital’s goals.
  4. Consider opportunities to diversify other hospital contracts, such as those for advertising and marketing.
  5. Ensure that at least one minority candidate is always considered for a supplier position.
  6. Appoint a champion within the organization who will be accountable for implementing supplier diversity and tracking performance goals and dollars spent on diverse suppliers.
  7. Cultivate relationships with diverse suppliers through favorable financial terms, technical and managerial services and educational seminars.
  8. If your hospital or health system isn’t doing so already, consider working with a group purchasing organization to gain access to a wide network of diverse suppliers.
  9. Avoid framing the supplier diversity program as a quota system or social program. Instead, emphasize its importance as a business strategy that will provide a competitive advantage to the organization.

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