President's Message

Supplier Diversity Initiative Aims to Advance Health Equity

I hope this message finds you all in good health and that you’ve been enjoying a wonderful summer so far. As you know, this past weekend brought very unusual weather to our typically sunny SoCal region. We encountered an unexpected deluge from Tropical Storm Hilary, along with a 5.1 earthquake centered in Ojai. These occurrences threatened to disrupt our hospital operations due to flooding, infrastructure damage, transportation issues and potential staffing shortages.

Fortunately, the impact of these events was fairly minor, and we are grateful for that, as well as for the assistance of our firefighters and other public safety staff. These personnel have been vital in ensuring communities’ well-being — such as evacuating patients in critical condition after a double power failure at White Memorial Hospital. HASC also worked with the California Hospital Association, the California Department of Public Health, local Emergency Medical Services and first responders to ensure Catalina Island and the Inland Empire — forecast to be among the hardest-hit areas — were prepared with emergency plans, mitigation strategies and staffing to keep hospitalized patients safe.

Please know that during times of adversity like these, HASC is actively collaborating with Southern California Edison to minimize any disruptions. We’re continuing to monitor the post-Hilary situation through ReddiNet and maintain close communication with area facilities to offer support.

On another note, HASC is committed to fostering a health care environment that mirrors the diverse communities we serve. To that end, I’m excited to share about a pivotal initiative that promises to advance health equity in Southern California. Our recent endeavor, the Hospital Supplier Diversity initiative, is a significant stride towards achieving this vision.

Health disparities persist, and we, as leaders in health care, must actively contribute to dismantling such inequities. Our Hospital Supplier Diversity initiative is designed to do just that, by forging strong partnerships between hospitals, health systems and diverse business owners.

With the enactment of AB 962 (Burke), which mandates hospitals to provide annual reports on their procurement efforts with minority, women, LGBT and disabled veteran–owned businesses, we saw a unique opportunity to effect real change. Recognizing the need, we established a dynamic Hospital Supplier Diversity Task Force, led by Communities Lifting Communities. This group has become the driving force behind our commitment to support hospitals as they diversify their procurement processes and practices, and they’re doing a great job.

Through strategic efforts, the task force has identified suppliers that align with diverse classifications, thus propelling our hospitals towards more inclusive procurement practices. This endeavor is not just about meeting regulations — it’s about creating a new norm where diversity and equity are woven into the fabric of our industry. By elevating the voices and involvement of diverse-owned businesses, we are not only creating economic opportunities but also fostering job growth, enhancing local economies and, ultimately, contributing to the well-being of the communities we hold dear.

HASC recently hosted a podcast with hospital members to share some best practices and lessons learned in establishing a robust and inclusive procurement program. I encourage each of you to listen to our new podcast and attend our upcoming Hospital Supplier Diversity Conference on Oct. 30 at The California Endowment to learn more about how you can lead your organization on this equity journey.

Let us come together, united by our shared dedication to health equity, and turn our vision into reality. Together, we can lead the way towards a brighter, fairer future for health care in Southern California.

Take care and stay safe.

George G.