Spectrum Health joins commitment to increase MWBE investment by $1 billion

Spectrum Health's Butterworth Hospital. Courtesy BHSH System

Spectrum Health joined 11 other health systems – some of the largest companies in their states – to announce major shifts in procurement strategies to help address the economic, racial and environmental disparities that impact community health outcomes.

The commitment, designed by the Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN) in partnership with Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth, includes collectively increasing spending with Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) by at least $1 billion over five years.

The institutions also agreed to work with at least two of their large existing vendors to create hiring pipelines in the disinvested communities that they serve. The HAN member signatories also commit to adopting sustainable procurement goals, which helps build additional momentum garnered by hospitals in the Practice Greenhealth network to purchase goods and services that minimize damage to health and the environment.

“Health systems are uniquely positioned to have positive impact as leading employers and economic engines in their communities,” said David Zuckerman, executive director, Healthcare Anchor Network. “In addition to providing quality healthcare, they can leverage institutional resources, including almost $500 billion in annual spending, to help address the economic, racial and environmental resource disparities that impact community health outcomes.”

Small local businesses struggle with tapping large, stable contracts, and MWBEs historically lack access to capital. Hospitals and health systems can be anchor companies that help local businesses and MWBEs stabilize and begin to recover, which facilitates employment and in turn increases access to health insurance and builds individual and community wealth and health.

When local businesses and MWBE’s are awarded business contracts, they are able to employ local residents and provide stable wages that allow employees to securely afford food, rent and other necessities. This local spending also has a multiplier effect that can increase local economic activity beyond the one purchase.

In addition to Spectrum Health, the health systems adopting the Impact Purchasing Commitment include Advocate Aurora Health, Baystate Health, Bon Secours Mercy Health, Cleveland Clinic, CommonSpirit Health, Henry Ford Health System, Intermountain Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Providence, Rush University Medical Center, Spectrum Health and UMass Memorial Health.

The HAN hospitals and health systems together employ more than 1.5 million people, purchase over $75 billion annually, and have over $150 billion in investment assets.

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