Friday, September 17, 2021

Baystate Health, UMass Memorial Part of $ 1 Billion Spending Drive for Women, Minority-Owned Businesses

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“The Impact Purchasing Commitment represents a key part of our anchor mission strategy to address structural bias, the root causes of health disparities, by investing in the economic future and well-being that comes from the impact vibrant minority and women-owned businesses have in our communities. The IPC pledge is a capital investment that aims to advance racial and gender equity and improve community health,” said Dr. Mark A. Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health, in a statement. Baystate details an award-winning supplier diversity program on its website.

The Healthcare Anchor Network said it is estimated that roughly one in five, or 420,000, small businesses have closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Similarly, we have invested across the region in community development corporations to address upstream social determinants of health,” the release said. “Our participation in the IPC is another example of a long-term commitment as an anchor in creating healthy communities.”

Several years ago, Baystate Health created a Community Health Innovation Fund at Common Capital, a local community development financial institution. Baystae said its aim was to encourage and support the development of minority and women business enterprises in Springfield’s low-income neighborhoods. Besides Baystate Health and Worcester’s UMass Memorial, the health systems adopting the Impact Purchasing Commitment include Advocate Aurora Health, Bon Secours Mercy Health, Cleveland Clinic, CommonSpirit Health, Henry Ford Health System, Intermountain Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Providence St. Joseph Health, headquartered in Renton, Washington, Rush University Medical Center and Spectrum Health.

“Health systems are uniquely positioned to have a positive impact as leading employers and economic engines in their communities,” said David Zuckerman, executive director of the 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.” “These closures have disproportionately impacted small businesses owned by immigrants, women, and Black, Latinx, and Asian individuals, all of which have experienced higher rates of closures and sharper declines in cash balances,” according to the Healthcare Anchor Network.

UMass Memorial said in a statement: “With a focus on increasing purchasing efforts with local, minority and women owned businesses, UMass Memorial Health can help create job growth and make a direct impact on many of the devastating social determinants of health factors that contribute to the inequities we see in the communities we serve.” Bich Ha Pham, director, communications and policy for the Healthcare Anchor Network said the group is not sharing a breakdown of how much each hospital plans to spend.

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